I was sitting with my family in a crowded restaurant when the subject of conversation turned to monetary issues—things of ample cost like cars and homes and technological gadgets and fancy eating establishments. I couldn't help but chuckle at some of the extravagant 'wants' voiced aloud at the table.
That's when my youngest son piped up, "I'm going to be rich when I grow up and buy all those things that I want. You'll be proud of me!"
My husband murmured something about having a lot to learn. I thought for a moment, wanting to be sure that all of my sons understood why I, as their mother, would look upon them proudly. So I spoke up.
"It isn't wealth or riches that good parents are concerned with. When it comes to being proud of their children, what parents truly care about is whether or not they grow up to be..."
But before I could voice what I would've deemed the obvious answer, a string of responses were tossed out from people sitting around me.
"...a hard worker," someone finished.
"...self-sufficient," replied another.
"...a responsible adult."
"...a college graduate."
"...a happy individual."
"...a capable and dependable contributor."
It was then that the truth struck me in a way I'd not fully realized before. Of course I knew that we as humans vary on the subject of values, but I guess it never hit me that the range was so broad until that moment. We all hold within our cupped hands something valued most—something we protect and cherish. But what each person esteems of greatest worth is not at all the same as that of another. My treasure is truly not yours.
As I wrapped my mind around these diverse answers to the simple comment I had begun, by youngest son leaned in to ask me, "What were you going to say, Mom? What do you want me to grow up to be?"
I smiled and told him. "A good person."
“You will realize one day that all the money in the world cannot buy you happiness. Nor can it make you a person of good character. ” ― Richelle E. Goodrich