Parents’ Define Well-Being?
I believe once we are adults, we can sift through the beliefs about money to eliminate thinking errors put upon us by our parents. When I think about my folks, it is easy to understand why they thought the way they did. They survived the great depression — the “dirty thirties” — and as a result they believed life would be difficult and they would live poorly. On the other hand, they were diligent to ensure their children had a better life. Yes, even for me, the one girl in a family of six brothers, I grew up with a strong work ethic which would contribute to my personal and professional vital well-being!
Certainly now as adults, I face some of the same challenges as my parents did. It seems to me all the lessons I learned as a child provided the exact experience that I needed to live this life fully. Vital well-being was assured if I remained true to my soul’s yearnings, which is key. When I write about the “soul’s yearnings” indeed I realize financial success depends on all the other factors like spiritual health, physical health, as well as mental and emotional health all being in balance. Thankfully, I am learning to follow my heart and soul on all levels to my next adventures — because my soul is in charge!
Abundance? or Poverty Consciousness?
With respect to financial health, I have learned that many of my deviant views about money came directly from my parents. For example, my parents were poor farmers who worked hard all day, every day. I often heard the words, “You’ve got to work hard to make a living!” Chances are my parents had a consciousness of poverty and struggle. Before I could change such a belief in my own life, I was obliged to come to terms with strange parental beliefs about abundance. I remember the day when it occurred to me that my parents had erroneous beliefs about money. I was in my 40s.
Imperfect Parents and Vital Well-Being
Why didn’t I recognize the failings of my parents sooner? Well, upon reflection, children of my generation were conditioned to never question the odd things our parents did or said. My father set himself in the family as the final authority on all matters. He was equal to God, according to him. As a child, I was told in no uncertain terms that God gave him his patriarchal authority. In other word, he was infallible, like his God. As a child, disobeying my father was tantamount to disobeying God.
Nevertheless, there were important things I took for granted as a youngster. Any vital well-being I experienced was the result of direct actions of my parents. As farmers, we had plenty of food year round. My parents had approximately an acre of garden space and fresh food was bountiful all summer. When winter arrived, we had much food preserved to see us through till spring.
My family had a clean well with an endless supply of sparkling fresh water. Also, we had plenty of firewood to keep our furnace stoked all night. My father made sure our home was always toasty warm through the perishing-cold Manitoba winters. He enlisted the help of my brothers to keep a large supply of wood on hand. In fact, we had cords of wood stacked directly behind our house. We also had a “wood room” in our basement, which was well stocked during winter months. The wood was chopped, dry, and ready for the furnace, as needed.
Compensation for Being “Cash-Poor”
Clothing was an issue which divided our family into “boys” and “girls.” Wouldn’t I know it was more important to clothe the boys because they worked harder on the farm than any girl could. Especially me, because my interests were more creative. I preferred to write, draw, dance, sing, or play the piano. Was I in the wrong family or what??? My parents always emphasized there was no money to be made in those trivial pursuits of which I found so alluring. My brothers were more valuable, according to my father, because they could work hard. My femininity was more of a hindrance than a benefit to farm life, apparently.
Beneficial Skills Handed Down
Mom usually sewed our clothes, at least while I was young. I always had to wait until my brothers were clothed before Mom would outfit me. Sometimes Mom remodeled a piece of clothing the neighbors handed down, which their children had outgrown. The neighbors noticed and responded to our need, especially after our old house burned down.
As I got older, Mom taught me how to sew. As a result, I began to sew my own clothes out of recycled cloth. For example, I would cut the bottoms off of long, full, ruffled skirts or dresses. Often I had enough to create an entirely new outfit — a dress, perhaps.
In high school, I took the home economics program and sewed myself a new skirt one year and a new jumper another year. “Every bit counts!” seemed to be my parents’ definition of financial vital well-being. They took great pride in their resourcefulness, as a kind of compensation for being cash poor.
So, as I grew up feeling devalued, how could I rise to the challenge at a time when the idea of vital well-being wasn’t even on my radar? Some people become aggressive and set out to prove their parents are “wrong”. Unfortunately, I was too religiously brainwashed to question such a concept until many years later — well past the time I had first entered the work force.
A High School With Business Courses?
Fortunately, in high school I elected to learn typing by enrolling in a business program. Yes, the high school education system in Manitoba offered subjects in basic accounting, shorthand, business practices, and typing back then. Now, at great cost, students must attend a business school, a college, or a university to obtain what used to be taught freely in high school. As a result of the advantageous choice I made at that time, I became a brilliant typist — I was top of my class at 65 words a minute.
Pleasing the Unpleasable?
Once my father knew I could type like the wind, he enlisted me to type all of his business letters and opinion editorials. That was great business experience for me. Indeed, my father had many strong opinions — did I tell you?
I can laugh about it now. My father, no matter how gruff, grouchy, and downright frightening he was at times, secretly appreciated my brilliant office skills. He never complained or criticized these, as he could find no fault. My work was consistently professional and impeccably polished. Silently, I was elated to finally find a way to please my generally unpleasable father — finally! What an enviable boost to my vital well-being because these talents secretly elevated me in my father’s eyes!
So, when I left high school, I always knew I could make a living using my typing and business expertise. And I did just fine with those abilities. I maintained my own apartment for many years on my administrative and creative projects income. At last I had my own financial health and vital well-being — an improvement over that of my parents.
Proficiency With Computers
Then, Microsoft computers appeared on the business scene. By this time, I had divorced my first husband, and began “temping” in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, subsequent to a move from Lethbridge, Alberta. I learned the agency offered free classes for their staff to become proficient users in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher. The temp agency had good business sense, ensuring continuous business for themselves as a credible supplier of cutting edge, computer-savy users. I signed up every spare chance I could to sharpen my computer talents. In a short time, I succeeded in obtaining several certificates in proficiency. Those skills helped me increase my vital well-being by landing a permanent job in a research venture at the University of Saskatchewan.
Proficiency with Multimedia
My keyboard proficiency served me well until lately, when I had a longing to advance myself again. This time I wanted to learn the Adobe Creative Suite of programs (CS5) in order to lay out print materials and build websites, among other things. Well, I successfully accomplished that goal within two years. As a result of earning a Certificate in Multimedia and Web Development from the University of British Columbia, I gained wonderful experience in producing books, catalogs, newsletters, posters, conference programs, business cards, stationery — and even some art.
Not to be overlooked, I had a dream of grace, where after a blinding rainstorm, a brilliant rainbow appeared, and out came the magnificent gleaming yellow sun. Yes, I embrace these “dream” aspects of my life. Such dreams silently assure me of my vital well-being now coming to the fore.
Summary: Vital Well-Being
So, again, like I said at the start of this blog, once we are adults, we can sift through the beliefs to eliminate thinking errors put upon us by our parents. When I think about my folks, it is easy to understand why they thought the way they did. Even so, they were diligent to ensure their children had a life of vital well-being. Yes, all of us children grew up with a strong work ethic as well as a strong desire to succeed in life!
Certainly now as adults, we face some of the same challenges our parents did. However, success is assured if we remain true to our soul’s yearnings. Thankfully, I am learning to follow my heart and soul on all levels to my next adventures, especially since putting my soul in charge of my vital well-being!
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