4 Things that are important to teach kids (and many adults):
1. Every thing has a cost – Every thing has a time, money, and energy cost, and when anything comes to be it is because someone paid the cost. If we get something free that means someone paid the cost for us. Too many people appreciate the cost payers too little because no one ever taught them to appreciate the reality of costs. The best way to teach people how to take things for granted is to give them everything they think they want, to bail people out, and be a crutch. Proof of how little we understand this is how we feel entitled to things without considering the cost implication on the person we expect it from.
2. The greater the value the greater the cost – You want a certain lifestyle? It will cost you. Want a certain body? It will cost you. Want a strong spirit? It will require taking up our cross. Even Jesus had to pay a price, the price, for us. You want a certain level of success? It will cost you. You want a certain family? It will cost you. You want a certain business? It will cost you. Want a bigger business? It will cost you more. Even doing good to others will cost you? Building homes for people costs a lot, feeding people, and putting them to school as well. The greater the value of what you want the greater the cost. By the way, inspiration doesn’t pay for anything. You won’t accept play money for a real thing. Inspiration is what helps make us willing to pay the real cost. That’s it. Too many people have a ton of inspiration but have very little to show in terms of accomplishment because they were never taught that “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” as Thomas Alva Edison said. I find that most people tend to highly value inspirational things and don’t nearly appreciate enough the contribution of those who perspire most. Proof of this is how we are more impressed with what celebrities (including celebrity pastors and businesspeople) do than we are with what our parents do every single day. We’re so impressed with our superficial knowledge of famous people and so easily resentful of the limitations of those who have been contributing most to us.
3. There are trade offs – There’s only so much money, only so much energy, and only so much time. If we’re pouring in 20% of our resources, then we can only pour 80% into other things. Knowing what’s truly valuable and surrounding yourself with people who value the same things helps you not trade truly valuable things for instant gratification and to be comfortable with losing things for the sake of more valuable things. When we invest in one thing we don’t invest in another. It’s that simple. Because we do not have a disciplined awareness of the trade offs we make decisions that cause us to lose more valuable things.
4. There are seasons – Life is not so much about balance but about recognizing and responding to the seasons of one’s life. During summer you don’t act like it’s winter, and you don’t act like it’s summer in winter. If the winter is longer than normal you don’t curse the sky and go out in a swimsuit. When it rains, for however long it rains, you respond to the rain. If there’s a storm you respond to the storm, for however long it goes. When you’re younger and setting a foundation, pay close attention to working hard and what you’re building. Pay the necessary costs of the season and enjoy the fruit of the season, even if it’s little. This is the wet cement period of your life. Shape yourself because the season will change and the cement will harden your practices into habits and your thoughts to paradigms – for better or worse. Not everyone will be in a the same season. That’s ok. What’s important is to respond to your season. You will find that many things will have to go or change, including people, simply because you’re in different seasons.