David, a straight “A” undergraduate student of mine, once invited me over to his apartment for his wife’s “famous Sunday chili dinner.” While driving to his apartment, I realized that they lived in what could be called the “poor side” or “industrial” part of town. He and his wife, both 23, had two small children. David was the sole breadwinner working full-time and attending the university full-time. Although the family had very little in terms of furniture and fixtures, they were a contented, loving group. Even David’s words of grace spoken before the meal included many blessings for which the family was thankful.
The spirit of this young family was especially commendable given some of the information that the couple shared with me that evening. David’s father was a country and western celebrity who had abandoned his family. As a result, David learned to provide for himself at an early age. But he wasn’t bitter about his situation. Actually he laughed about the marketing analogy of it. Often celebrities who have great marketing and packaging lack character inside.
As I was leaving the apartment, David mentioned that he wanted to catch two or three hours of sleep before he left for work. He worked on the graveyard shift in a nearby corregated paper plant within walking distance of his home. Laughingly his wife spoke up and said, “I can always tell when Dave gets home from work; the whole apartment smells like glue!”
What can we learn from David’s case study? As I stated in an earlier blog, “you should discipline yourself to focus on where you are headed. Hold on tightly to your dream of becoming financially independent. View living a spartan lifestyle as temporary, merely a prerequisite to joining the ranks of the socioeconomic achievers in America.”