Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Smart Mama Presents: Stewardship

As part of a series on our family values, I will highlight each of the 9 values we have chosen for our family. I'll share my thoughts on the value and why I chose it. Previously I highlighted Accountability.

Motto: We are grateful for all we have and use everything wisely.
Scripture: For unto whom much is given, much is required
Doctrine and Covenants 82:13

The dictionary defines stewardship as: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care. I chose this because our society is one of entitlement. The message it sends is "you deserve whatever you want" and "hey if it's yours a do what you want with it". I don't ascribe to this philosophy. Again I believe everything in life has a moral foundation and we can chose things that help or harm others. I believe all that we have is from God. We need to to stop and be grateful for all we have (as many people have far less) and do better things with what we have. I believe that he intends for us to go good with those things he has given us and not just serve ourselves. I don't believe because we have more we are better. I only believe one of the great tests of this life is to see if we can reach beyond ourselves and desire to even out the have and the have nots instead of simply making our lives as prosperous and comfortable as possible. Life has many commodities: Our talents, our opportunities, our education, our wealth, our prosperity, our earth. Everyday we deal in these things, we can squander them if we chose or we can use them wisely. It is our responsibility to do good with these things.

I expect a lot from my children because they have a lot. Maybe that sounds like a big load to carry but, I think the expectation is important. My children are growing up in a comfortable, healthy loving home with many many opportunities and unfortunately much of the world is not, and by virtue of those advantages, they have a responsibility to share and help. I believe we have an obligation to speak up and speak out and create a greater good. We don't waste our time, our money frivolously or on things that don't matter or just to keep up with the Joneses. When it comes to education, to living a good life, to making the world better, they cannot claim ignorance.

This is why we do things like kiva micro finance loans, and why we donate to various humanitarian causes. This is why we are involved in our community and our church. This is why we try to be thrifty and wise with our money, and make stuff from scratch, reuse things, and not get carried away in materialistic pursuits. It is why we learn about others and try to stop and appreciate more things we often take for granted.

For me I feel blessed to have had alot of educational opportunities, to have been raised by very good parents and by virtue of that I am expected to give back. I have seen so many places in countries around the world where food, education, shelter, clothing, medicine is not a given. Those experiences have really shaped my understanding and sense of purpose and obligation in life.


Cathy said...

I remember watching an interview w/the Romney boys and Mike Wallace. He was perplexed that none of the sons rebelled. When asked why, Craig simply replied where a lot is given a lot is expected. Mike Wallace just couldn't grasp it.
I try to teach my children about this, somedays they seem to do better than others.

smart mama said...

ooh good example cathy- i do think it is something that if a child truly internalize changes their behaviors/beliefs

Kris said...

I have been reading your blog for a while - and not commenting - sorry! I don't even remember how I found it. But I really enjoy it and admire all of the things you are striving to teach your children.

This stewardship concept in particular - I just love what you've written, and I think it is so important in 'our day.' I really want to put this value into practice more in our family.

Also, I think there is such value in thinking these values through and putting them in writing! I want to do this for our family. Thanks for the inspiration.

smart mama said...

Kris-Welcome! Thanks for your nice comment. I am glad you enjoy the blog. This was a good exercise for me and has been a help in our family the last 2 years or so since we did it! Good ideas are always for sharing!

sweetpea said...

Really great example Cathy. I strive to teach this on a daily basis, and this was a great post.

Sonja said...

What a wonderful idea, you are such and inspiration! I need to do something like this for my family.

swimmingmom said...

Very well said, smartmama! I found myself making a lot of hmm, yeah I agree, hmm, I could be better... noises as I was reading ;-) Lots of great points.

Cathy- that's funny because I was thinking about them (The Romeney's) this week and what a great examples they are.