I am emphatic on this one. The children have to know the battle the family is going through. The children are smart. They already know what’s going on, though they may not know the degree to which it is happening. The kids can help.
From the very beginning we were honest with our kids. They knew the struggle, they just didn’t know the extent of the struggle and I believe it’s our job as parents to protect them from some of the mess. We prayed as a family. We cut back as a family. Our son applied for and won a four-year National Army Scholarship to pay for his own college.
Our children saw us sell a $887,500 house, then move to a $275,000 house. After that we moved to a $164,000 home, then we made the decision to keep downsizing further to keep clearing the debt. We moved into our daughter and son-in-laws’ house. We lived in the guest room and then when it became clear it may be awhile, we set up housekeeping in the basement. Any pride we’d had was now couched in humility. The downsizing took place over a three and a half year period.
Our struggle became very public. The pain we did our best to keep inside and share with our closest family and friends. We prayed without ceasing. We took one step forward and two steps back.
And this I know…our children are stronger for our struggle. They are all 3 incredibly responsible with money and with their attitude toward debt. They believe in the strength and in the bond of our family. They turn to each other when they have their own struggles with life. They are real.
We are a family, now and forevermore. It reminds me of the lyrics to the Rascal Flatts song “I Won’t Let Go.”
I will stand by you,
I will help you through
When you’ve done all you can do
and you can’t cope
I will dry your eyes,
I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight
and I won’t let go.
Tell the children. Watch them rally.