When I graduated high school, I received Dr. Seuss’ book, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” and after seeing several pinterest ideas, it inspired me to check it out for Emma. Wow! It’s such an encouraging book and a great reminder about the places we have been, are going, and will be going in life. When I was growing up, I had great dreams of what I would do with my life. I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian. Or a teacher. Or a doctor. Whatever it was, it involved going to school. I also knew I wanted to get married, which normally involves a wedding. I also knew I wanted kids and LOTS of kids. I used to want five. Right now, two sounds good. Either way, it costs MONEY. I was very blessed with parents who saved and helped me get through college. The only thing I was responsible for was my books and my study abroad trip to France. And both of those are paid off. My parents also put back and prepared for my special day. My wedding was not a stressful time because the funds were there to pay for it. We paid for some and my parents paid for the majority of it. We were so very blessed by this generous gift from them. When Emma came along, we knew we wanted to provide the same for her. We also knew we had a long way to go before we would get there. Ouch! JR and I are recovering debt addicts and are in the midst of paying off all our debt without acquiring any additional debt. So far, we’re doing good. If we would stumble upon a couple thousand dollars, that would help, too, but I’m pretty sure it’s not that easy. We fell into this hole and now we are responsible for getting ourselves out of it. I live for the day that I get to do the Debt Free Scream on Dave Ramsey’s radio show like my amazing friends did, but until then, I will look to them for guidance and direction.
The reason I started talking about money with this post is that for Emma to go all the places she wants to go, it will require money to get there. And beyond that, it will require proper training in spending to get there. Are we experts yet? Nope. We are FAR from it but we are learning. At the end of the day, we don’t want money to be an option for her. We want to help her press onward and not limit her dreams. Where there’s a will, there’s way. Here are some areas where we think Emma will go and how we want to encourage her to get there:
College- Nowadays, college is a necessity in the working world. We want Emma to be prepared. Does this mean she’ll use her major? Nope. It doesn’t mean that at all. She may choose to be a stay at home mom. She may choose to go down a different road. But she will have this education to fall back on in case she needs it. We don’t want to put down a list of schools and say “pick from these”. We want to be wise and start saving NOW. For Emma’s first birthday, we are starting a college fund for her (and welcome anyone who wants to help get it started). We want to use this money to help her go to whatever school she dreams of going to based on her future career. In the same regards, we want to remind her that SHE will determine a lot of where she goes. If she wants to go to an Ivy League school, she better get good grades and even better scholarships. Just because we put money back doesn’t mean we will have enough or that we will not be wise in how we spend it. Part of teaching Emma responsibility is teaching her how to get there. We want to begin early by rewarding her for doing her best. Encouragement and positive reinforcement go a long way.
Marriage- We want Emma to get married one day. We want a house full of grandkids. To get there, we want to teach Emma how to find the RIGHT marriage. Not any marriage will do. A lot of times, we focus so much on the wedding and not enough on the marriage itself. We want to model for Emma by not only our marriage, but those around us. We want to surround her with other people who have a marriage she can look to that helps guide her along the way. The most important model for her will be the model Christ gives us by his love for the church. We want her to be looking for this man and kick any other men that come onto her path to the curb. One other thing that we plan on enforcing is that marriage comes after school. I’m by no means saying it’s wrong to get married first. In fact, Emma can do that if she wants. However, if she wants us to pay for college and her wedding, she will be required to be a college graduate. This is just how we roll.
Kids- We want Emma to have kids. I pray she has kids. I want a house full of grandbabies, remember? But you know what? She may not want kids. I want us to be fully supportive of whatever it is God has led her to do. If she chooses to have kids, I want to encourage her the best way I can to help her raise her kids how God has instructed her to. The best way to do this is by example. We need to raise Emma in a way that she can look back, like I do with my parents, and be proud. She will want to do the same with hers I pray. If she doesn’t want kids, we will encourage her to mentor someone else’s kid. Just because you don’t feel called to have kids doesn’t mean you disregard the next generation. Someday they’ll be the ones taking care of you because momma and daddy will be gone. Can I get an amen?
Work- I want Emma to have good work ethic. It drives me NUTS when I see a grown child sitting at home playing video games 24/7 while mom and dad foot the bills and they contribute nothing. First off, I’m not sure how I feel about Junior living at home at age 35 (well actually I am sure how I feel but I won’t go there) but more importantly, GET A JOB. If you are well and able to work, don’t expect someone else to cater to you. Also, I will not be mom who washes Emma’s laundry at age 26. Or 20. Or even 16. She will learn how to work around the house, too, so she can contribute to her family one day. Plus, it helps me out. Come on, I can’t do it all. Having a good work ethic is something to be proud of and brings you places in life, not just at work but life in general.
Ministry- Emma’s ministry is probably one of the most important things in her life, second to her walk with God and her family. This is what she will do with her life to serve God. She may run a food pantry. She may greet people at her church. She may travel to the ends of the earth to share the good news with others. Whatever her ministry will be, we want to empower her to find it and do it zealously. We want to show her what serving God is all about and how to be the best servant she can be. JR and I are trying to practice and model this daily for her. And let me tell you, it’s hard! There’s a fine line between serving too much and not enough. Between making your ministry second and your family first. It’s tough, but we want to work hard to show her how to do this and how to do it well.
Where are your kids going and what do you want to show them along the way?