We all want to see our children start off life better than we did. Why is that? We don’t want them to be in want or to have to make do. Do we like the way we turned out? Isn’t a very integral part of how we matured the want and make do we had to experience? Let’s look at this from several points of view.
Take a look at the entrepreneur. He/she starts in a corporate position, bottom of the ladder, minimum wage. Then suddenly, a great idea takes hold–an idea that won’t go away. This idea swims around in the person’s head and soon details begin to develop, and plans, and direction, and marketing, and then the entrepreneur decides to brave the statistics and go out and start his/her business. It has its failures and its successes, but eventually becomes a thing of beauty. This entrepreneur has a child. Does this child deserve to be starting as the CEO of a company built by the parent? Not right away!
Take a look at a religious leader. He/she starts by learning the basic tenants of the religion, the building blocks, the skills. This person will go through loss and gain, trials and tribulation, followers and opponents and strengthen his/her own faith as well as the members of the group. It takes determination, lots of prayer, and personal sacrifice. Would the child of this leader get to be the next in command without building his/her own character and strengthening his/her own faith? Not right away!
When we start out in life with our new spouse, do we have the 2000 sq. foot house with the pool and the fancy car and private school for the kids? Of course not. What makes us the people we are with the character we have is precisely the kind of experiences we are trying to protect our children from. In helping them avoid want and making do, we are crippling their development as great human beings.
Going back to the wedding scenario. There is no reason a couple can’t get married at a church or a courtroom without a limo, and a truckload of flowers, and a leather-bound book of 400 pictures, and a DJ, and a huge dinner and dance. The wedding industry would not like it, but it would be possible for people to be married 40-50-60 years without having ridden in the limo on their wedding day. Making the wedding budget rattling expensive is no assurance of longevity of the marriage. I have been to a few of these simple weddings. Does the bride remember the smell of the flowers? the sound of the music? the laughter and joy of friends? what the minister/judge said during the ceremony? I would say a resounding, “Yes!”
Therefore, to wrap all this up, it doesn’t take lots of money to make a successful wedding despite what the wedding magazines would tell us. It is actually better to remember to do as my friend Gary used to say, “Keep the Main thing the Main thing.” Does this apply to other areas in your life? Kindergarten graduation? 5th/6th grade graduation? Junior High/High School/College graduations? Baby showers? Wedding Showers? Funerals? Think of anything where the celebration is more important than the event. The ceremony, the activities, and the joy will be better remembered if the focus is on the Main Thing.