I remember when I was in school and living with my parents often telling them what other kid’s parents had bought for them.  So and so got a new car, such and such got a fancy new purse, this one is going to the beach for a week, that one is getting diamond earrings.  My parents were not impressed in the least.  My father’s reply was always, “Then get a job and you can have it, too!” 

From a young age my parents impressed on me that work = stuff, stuff = worth, and worth = self esteem.  They made me earn everything I got the hard way.  Before I was 16 they let me do chores on the farm for an allowance.  After I was 16, they helped me to get a part-time job.  They never let me slack and always nurtured my work ethic. 

Both of my parents worked for as far back as I can remember.  They worked hard and they worked long hours at meager pay.  They provided for the 7 of us and we never felt we did without the necessities.  There was money for the pictures, the school trips, the uniforms, whatever we needed related to our education they provided.  Spending money was another matter.  That was to be earned.

If we didn’t work we couldn’t go out on the weekends with our friends to dances, to parties, to shops, etc.  It never occurred to me to ask for money from them.  If I did I knew my allowance would be deducted for the borrowed amount.  Funny, I never felt that this was not correct.

I was watching Dr. Phil today about kids in their 20’s still living at home and their parents footing the bill.  Can you imagine?  I cannot fathom that kind of life.  Perhaps it is because I was not raised that way.  That I was taught at a young age that you worked, that you lived on your own, that you made a way and that you worked it out. 

Both my father and mother were very generous with their friends.  From time to time, some of them would stay with the family while they were working out this or that.  No one was turned away and we shared what we had with them.  But there came a point that it was time to go.  That was made clear and it was time to pack it in. 

I love my parents for instilling that ethic in me.  It has sustained me through some very hard times and continues to sustain me today.  I cannot tell you how long it has been since I have set foot inside a retail store except for my groceries.  I exclusively shop at thrift stores. 

I have been working for several weeks to pare back some of my plenty.  I seem to have gathered so much.  Time to refresh the place, too.  Pictures are exchanged, art from friends are hung, and reflection is made. 

The world has been so gracious to me and has brought me such great friends from all over the world.  What more could a girl ask for?  We have worked to earn our friendships by sharing our talents, our lives, and our work.  See, not even friendship is for free!