There are loads of reasons why I am so grateful that Mary and I have seven children. Don't worry, I don't propose to share them all with you here. However, there is one that has been in my mind for a couple of days. It is money.
As I spent my working life teaching there have never been vast sums in our bank accounts. Money has always been tight, as it was for our parents before us. So, there have been plenty of times when lack of cash = problems = worries. Just like many many people everywhere.
"So", you think, "what are you on about?"
Well, it is this. Now that our children are adults it is clear to me that their riches-free upbringing has been of real benefit to them. They have grown up very aware of the value of money. They, like us, would doubtless have preferred to have been surrounded by the latest gear, but having not had that experience, they appreciate what they now have. And that is good.
There was once a lad in my class whose family won a sizeable amount on the lottery. He didn't appear for three weeks while they all went off to the Caribbean. Great stuff. A life-changing amount. Yet, a few months later he said that he wished that they had never won it. The family had been changed - the money had caused friction. There was an element of mistrust that there had never been before. Life in the family was different, and not as good.
What started me thinking along these lines was a piece in a newspaper about a Premiership footballer. Kieran Richardson is 27, so has been playing at the top level for nearly ten years. Apparently he gets about £25,000 a week (£1.2m a year!), so he will not be worried about the price of gas. Anyway, he was talking about his lifestyle, and about when he was younger and thought only of fast cars, booze, and sex. "I would go out after a game, get drunk, go to nightclubs, meet women".
Then he went on, "You would think I was living a good life, but within myself I wasn't happy. People say that to be successful you need to have money and a good job, but that's not true".
What changed for Kieran was meeting his wife, Natalie. After that the money was less important. Love took over, and life now had, and still has, a meaning. Before, life was empty.
Now don't get me wrong. I would happily accept a large cash amount. Like you, I would know how to cope with the new pressures (of course we would!). Oh, the good that we could do with a load of wonga! Yet I do wonder. I heard a story last week about a man who lived locally. He used to visit a couple of pensioners regularly, help them with a bit of shopping, and generally keep an eye on them. Then one day he told them that he was moving away to live with his sister. So off he went. It was a few weeks later that someone told the couple that he had not gone to his sister at all. He had won £2m.
Rather than tell anyone of his good fortune, he had (almost) kept quiet about it. He thought that he could not live in the same neighbourhood anymore (what is life going to be like when you have got many times the income of everyone else?) and so moved house to a distant part of the country.
I wonder if he is happy with his 'good fortune'. Hopefully, life in the distant part of the country is blissful. But, if you are retired after a normal life of graft and struggle, is it easy to find new friends when you live alone, with a different accent, among people who have lived more affluently for decades?
So, there is something for you to think about today! I am still sure that I would cope very well if the win came to us, and it would be interesting to find out, but.......
My e-book, "How to Live and Die Without Regrets" will shortly be available directly from all e-reader outlets. More details soon....
Meanwhile, the following review has appeared on he Smashwords:
"Really superb. It's easy to read but not at the expense of substance and sets the reader thinking about their own life. You're left evaluating your own values in life, without feeling like you've been lectured or judged. It's an entertaining and amusing read, but one which will stay with you. I highly recommend it."
So wrote Philosopher's Stone, who awarded the book 5 stars.
Well, thank you Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Philosopher's Stone for that review.
If I read that about some other book, I would buy it!
For the moment it is accessible via Kindle, Kindle for PC, and smashwords.com