Thoughtful Thursday: Gift

Being RICH is not about how much you have, BUT about how much you GIVE.

Ever since I can remember my dad has always told my siblings and I, “We are poor.” The thing is I always knew we weren’t REALLY poor. My parents worked hard and eventually earned really high positions in their firesides.  But, I knew that because of their humble beginnings, they wanted us to grow up with the same mind set.

There was a time period in my teens that I resented my parents for thinking this way. I didn’t shop at A&F or Hollister like all the “cool kids” and learned how to find gems in Ross and Marshalls stores at an early age. Even though I was basically wearing the same type of clothes, I hated my parents for not buying me the “real deal”.

And it didn’t end there. We always only had basic cable and we weren’t allowed to own or play video games. The first video game console I played was the Wii in college. I wasn’t allowed to watch more than 3 hours of TV a day. My dad would take my phone away from us at 9:00 PM when “free minutes” were available.

My summers were spent doing “work books” and extra homework my parents asked my future teachers for. For every page of work we would do, we would earn a nickle. I remember my friends inviting to waste the day by the community pool or to the park and I would stay in to work on my “homework”.

At one point, I was convinced that I HATED my dad.  I didn’t understand why he insisted on saving so much money and restricting us from doing certain things.

My first year of college my parents would give me a $500 a semester allowance. I blew through all of it one weekend on a shopping spree for clothes that I don’t wear or even own anymore. A week later I went to the mall again. For some reason I started to think about how selfish I was the week before. I took my parents and my life for granted. There was people who couldn’t even afford to buy a meal and I spent $500 in two days on designer clothes that I didn’t NEED.

I called my mom that day and asked her, “Why mom? Why did God bless me with this life if I don’t even appreciate it?”

My mom laughed a little and told me, “Mija, we worked hard to give you and your siblings a better life that we had growing up. We expected you all to want more than we did, but we also hoped that you would learn from us the value of a dollar; the value of hard work. And we know that one day you will understand.”

And then she said something I remember everyday, “God gave you more than others so that you could GIVE more to others.”

Growing up I learned so much from my parents. Humility is something that you are either born with or that you learn with time. I learned that I am blessed and saving money is smart because you never know what may come. I learned that it is my duty to balance the world by giving whatever I can to those less fortunate than me. Whether it is money, time, advice, etc.

The greatest lesson I learned came from my father when I started working after college. He told me again, “Remember, somos pobres. (We are poor.)” Then he told me, “No you know what, I am a rich man. I am blessed with a loving family and with a LIFE to live. I am rich because I appreciate all that God has given me and all I have worked for. I am rich because I know that all that I do is for you and your siblings. I am rich because I GIVE more than I receive Anali and that is what I want you to learn from me.”

It only took me 24 years to learn from all the lessons my parents taught me, but I learned.

I saw this AMAZING video today and it reminded me of my parents. They worked so hard to give us a better life. And now I will work even harde rthan they did to GIVE all I can.

Stay in love and just listen,


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