We’re the parents of 8 children, all of whom are adopted. We drive a big old 12-passenger van and a Suburban to boot. Quite often we’re asked how in the world we have enough money to do it all. Our secret isn’t in what we have. It’s in what we’ve decided to live without.
The secret is simple: We live small. We’ve intentionally chosen to live well below our means. It started in 2014 when we sold our large suburban home, gave most of our possessions away, and moved to a house that was less than half the square footage (more on that in a second). We didn’t have to choose this lifestyle. But we did so because we believe we’re part of a bigger story in this world. One of generosity.
I had to teach myself how to handle money. While my dad was great at saving his money, and making wise decisions with the resources he had, he wasn’t that great at passing on his wisdom or technique. For years, I spent money unwisely when I could have saved most of it and had more of it in my pocket!
As our children grow, and develop into young adults, it’s our responsibility to teach them values and principles that will shape their future and place their lives on successful pathways. Using money wisely is a big part of this. The way they save and spend the money depends on the way we teach them to do so.
In the great pursuit of the American dream we become fixated on living the perfect life. However, we neglect something powerful and life-changing in the process!
I rarely pay full attention to the movies my children watch. Sure, I’m fully engaged during family movie nights, but other times, like lazy Saturday mornings, I’m pre-occupied with other things. This past Saturday, however, something caught my attention in the movie they were watching. It was The Lego Movie.
Some people are born simple, some have simplicity thrust upon them. We fit into the latter category.
This year my family made the decision to downsize our home by half. We discontinued cable, our newspaper subscription and our gym membership. We had a suspicion that living a simpler life might just fill our home with the opportunity for peace and strong relationships that we had been lacking.
We are excited to introduce a new category called “Small Living” to Confessions Of A Parent. This past year we were convicted to start living smaller, even though we have a big family. A couple of times a month, Kristin is going to share different moments and highlights from our experience of living small with a big family!
Here’s a question: Do we need all the material stuff we have? The answer is, we don’t. Even though we label certain possessions a need, we really just want them. The problem for most people is that they have their needs and wants confused. That’s what we discovered last year!