Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Poor Camp

Recently, the girls and I were reminiscing about their childhood years, and how in retrospect, we are glad we had very little money during their formative years. We are certainly happy that we have more money now, as we love the benefits (travel, jobs we like, more choices, etc.).  However, there is definitely a blessing to being poor enough so that the rest of your life you never take things for granted, do not have a sense of entitlement, and know that true happiness comes not from things, but people. 
The girls developed the idea of Poor Camp. One week a year, their kids would relive aspects of their childhood:

  • have use of only one car; if you need the car that day, then take Dad to work
  • no soda or "fun food" in the house
  • lots of pinto beans and hamburger meat
  • go shopping at the grocery store that only carries generic canned food (not store brand, but the white label type that say only "Corn") and sack your own groceries
  • use coupons
  • no cable TV or internet
  • go clothes shopping with a limited amount of cash, and go to Goodwill, resale or discount stores only
  • go garage sale hunting
  • no cell phones
  • make a Christmas or birthday present by hand for someone
  • make the wrapping paper out of paint and butcher paper, or use colored comic pages
  • cut a cedar tree for your Christmas tree
  • cook every meal; no eating out
  • swim in a tank or lake, not a pool
  • gather and cut your own firewood
  • buy cheap toilet paper and Kleenex
  • make sack lunches and/or picnic if away from home during the day
  • take free tours of any place that will let you
  • get books from the library
  • play outside
  • earn allowance by doing chores
  • play board games and Scrabble (without all the letters)
Character often develops through hard times. I pray I never quit developing character, even through good times.

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