Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Child's Outlook on Success

Nancy is a 62 year old woman who most people would not consider a financial success. She has never married, is still working full time, renting in a lower income area of town, and mostly lives paycheck to paycheck. My six year old daughter, however, has perceived this woman as being a success of sorts. You see, Nancy invites a couple of children from our church to spend each Sunday afternoon in her humble home. At what financial cost? A dollar or two extra for the meal and maybe a couple more for the icecream she always seems to have in her freezer that is just for these special times! She chooses to give. Giving doesn't have to be flashy or expensive. The children entertain themselves with free activities throughout the afternoon and are simply making memories and building this precious relationship with an older woman who loves God. Nancy understands that serving God and others isn't about dollars, but time and words and love.
What does Nancy have to do with success? The average person may not see a connection, but I admire the simple understanding of my daughter, who, at age six, saw that Nancy's success is true inner success. My daughter can be very outspoken around friends she is comfortable talking to and this led to the following conversation. Nancy shared with my daughter that she, at age 62, is considering purchasing a home. My daughter's response: "Nancy, maybe you can help my grandma. Grandma and Papa can't afford to buy a house, so maybe you can help them." Just to lay out a few facts, Grandma and Papa are both about ten years younger than Nancy and both could hold full time jobs or even earn money through entrepreneural work if desired. So, why would this child with her simple understanding suggest for Nancy to help others? Because Nancy is already serving others in a genuine way. Nancy doesn't complain about the cost of the icecream as she scoops it into the bowls for the children. Nancy provides a nice meal without pointing out the cost of the cheese on top of the lasagna. It isn't about the money, but the relationship. Is the meal frugal? Yes! Does my daughter realize that the meal is low cost? No! It is served with love and joy. My conclusion: A person's words can determine how others perceive that person and her success.

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