There's a lot of pressure in our neighborhood to maintain a wealthy status. We can afford to do so, however, something inside of me doesn't feel right. Is it okay to maintain this lifestyle?
When you’re raising kids in a very successful environment, in good communities, where people are surrounded by every creature comfort and amenity they want, and because of the income that they make, they can really enjoy the finer things of life, and you wonder if there’s something missing, well, then you should wonder.
Because, you see, there’s nothing wrong with this, per se. Nothing wrong with having nice things and living in a nice home, until you need that to feel complete, until you want that more than anything else.
So, kids get drawn into what I call the “success lie,” you know, the “success illusion.” And I’m telling you, it’s toxic. It causes them to swallow the cultural poison pill called comparison. And listen, you will always lose in the comparison game, and when your kids make it part of their DNA, that they are always comparing, they are always coming up short, they want the next best thing—listen, it should bother us when we see our kids getting drawn into this, but there is an antidote for it, and that is, you want to live your lives focused outwards, toward serving others. Get your kids serving others. Get your kids focused off of themselves and what they have and they want.
When we get our kids focused outwards, it’s amazing how so much of the success lie is exposed for what it is. It’s just a lie. There’s nothing innately wrong with success, as I said, but if that’s what you need, it will never fulfill you. If that’s all you want is success and all the stuff that comes with it, you will never be complete.
Unfortunately, too, if that’s what you live for, your life will be meaningless. We don’t need that. No, no, no. We have something far better: building a greatness in your kids’ heart that comes from living bigger than life and living for others.
My wife and I have raised our kids in a very abundant world. But I have observed something—and I just want to close off with these words—I look at the typical kid today, and basically a typical middleclass kid is a kid that basically has been born on third base, but he’s under the delusion that he hit a triple. He hasn’t hit anything. And many times, we grease these kids to make it easy for them to slide home.
You know, we’re much better off putting our kids in an environment where, when they are looking outwards, they are serving others, they are living for other people—man, life falls into perspective. The success illusion is kept at bay. Meaningful, purposeful life is put at the forefront, and a lot of these other things you are worried about, they just take care of themselves.