Worth a Million Dollars

I don’t buy lottery tickets.

On the way to work each day there’s a big billboard that informs us all of the current state lottery jackpot numbers – increasing each week until someone wins. Like everyone else crawling through traffic to their hum-drum jobs, I imagine what life would be like if I just won a single million dollars.

“What is the likelihood, of winning the lottery, then lose it all the next day when you step out your front door and get struck by lightning? Probably, very slim, but then anything is possible.” ― Anthony Liccione

Trying to be a saint, the first items on my list are always benevolent in nature. I’d care for widows and orphans and set up some sort of organization to do good works. I’d pay off all my bills, quit my job and devote my time to my passion in life. Not sure what that really is anymore??

By the time I get to work, a few minutes later, I realize what a disaster having a winning lottery ticket would mean for me. I’d surely make a mess of things, my life included. Money is the root of all evil, right? I’d be a fool and end up in more trouble then than I am now. I’d be a tragic character in an O. Henry story.

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” ― Epictetus

No, I don’t need a lottery ticket. To be honest, God really is taking care of me day by day. You’d be surprised at all the details, until you start looking. Initially we tend to think that most if not all of our problems could be solved with a big fat check in the mail. Then something happens, you make too many wrong turns, someone goes missing, you’re not sure who’s looking back at you in the mirror anymore…and over time you realize that more dollars in the bank isn’t really going to fix most of what’s wrong. You can’t buy a new attitude on Amazon.

As children grow up they learn it all. Humans are emotionally equipped. But what to do with all those feelings? Our social worlds teach us how to manage and act out our emotions, when and how to display what we feel and how we should/should not feel:

  • Look people in the eye when speaking
  • Smile back
  • Hug people that you love
  • Don’t hug strangers
  • Cry with others when they are sad
  • Learn how to control your temper

Often we forget that they are just children with developing brains and everything else. They are brand new selves, trying to negotiate a strange world. Take a look at that extended family photo hanging on YOUR wall and just imagine trying to figure that out (while standing below everyone’s knees). The job of the adult is to make a safe place for kids to figure out who they are becoming – not put them into a pre-figured mold or turn them loose into the jungle of today’s self-absorbed society. Right?

Little children are never as happy to see us as we are to see them. Their feelings don’t last but a few magic moments. Goodbye can be a foreign concept. Attachment isn’t so much about feeling as it is about frequency. Children need to have the time and space to practice how they feel. Never expect a child to mean what he says or does (I’ve made that mistake too often!).

“Children see magic because they look for it.” ― Christopher Moore

It’s been an adventure watching my 3-year-old grandson as he grows and figures out how to express himself. His parents are very laid back personalities. He’s not at all. Runs everywhere and talks as loud as he can – even at 5am. During the week he attends a pre-school, so he gets to have a lot of interaction with other growing up kids his age. Fun and well-planned activity all day long. When do they teach how not slam doors?

The two of us were sitting on the couch, playing around as we usually do, and out of the blue, he leaned over and gave me a kiss on my cheek. Just the spontaneous expression of a child. He probably forgot all about it a moment later. Just a passing feeling quick as a wink flying past his soul.

It just took me a moment to realize that’s all I ever needed, all I would ever need in life.

Who needs a million dollars when you can get that?

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