You are probably expecting my magic formula for shifting massive amounts of wealth or winning in the stock market. I’m sorry to disappoint. I have not found the alchemist’s magnum opus. As soon as I discover it, I’ll share immediately. In the meantime, I want to share my thoughts about a different type of wealth.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I got this from a forwarded chain letter (there’s even doubt about whether Emerson really wrote this) and unlike the normal actions I take (delete…) I sat there thinking. Is it just another Utopian idea? Is there anything missing in it?
I remembered one of the mistakes I made some time ago. I was a teenager, young and stupid (had to have been). My father and I were at our kitchen table having a discussion about a topic I cannot remember. But I remember asking him “What have you accomplished in your life?” I thought he would mention some scientific discovery, but he looked squarely in my eyes and said “I’ve raised two boys.” I was ashamed to have asked him this question. Years later part of me is very happy to know his answer. As we raise our little ones, I continue to learn the profound meaning of his answer.
The link is missing. To raise good children, we MUST do everything in the first quote and more. This is what I call building wealth for the purposes of this post. One parent, one family, one community at a time, we must build wealth – we must build good children. You say I’m crazy… Imagine a country where the next generation of kids is healthy, well-educated, raised in loving families, with respect for their communities, with respect for each other, entrepreneurial, mentally and spiritually complete, more united than divided. Would there be a richer country (or family, or community) in the world?
Why am I writing this? Because I am convinced that change happens inside our souls, then inside our families, then inside our communities… It’s not a governmental program with program administrators or a presidential initiative. I read the quote above twice more to see if there was any mention of money, fancy shoes, fashion clothes, nice cars, huge houses, dinners at fancy restaurants, or expensive vacations but it appears there’s no mention of anything to which we as individuals and as a country have becomes slaves. I hope some day if my little ones ask me the same question, I can also say “I’ve raised good children.” I hope the whole country can say the same.