Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Paychecks and Happiness

Dear Irie,
A student asked me today if I wish teachers made more money. I didn’t want to lie, but I also didn’t want to complain. I simply said that unless you’re Donald Trump or Oprah Winfrey or some other crazy-rich person, you’re probably always going to wish you made a little more money. I mean yes - I do think teachers deserve to make a great living for what they do. If I could afford it, I’d send your and your brothers’ teachers on cruises to the Bahamas in appreciation for loving you and taking care of you when I can’t, unfortunately I can most definitely not afford that (sorry teachers and babysitter). But to be honest, I also knew what a teacher’s salary was before I chose the profession and yet I still chose it. Even after I had to take two years off, I still chose to come back to teaching instead of trying something else, because there are far more positives than negatives when compared to other jobs. The main positive being it’s a much more family friendly job than most- my work hours are about as close to possible to your school hours, I get to spend breaks with you (when our districts line up) and I’ve never had to spend the night away (although my district has sent me on some really cool trips by choice).
I also told my student this- I’m happy with my life and my circumstances. I have a home I love, a car I like and I get to take trips with my family. For me that is happiness. Sure, sometimes I would like to splurge on a really nice purse or go on a shopping spree and it would be nice to just go buy a new car when mine starts acting cranky, but these are not things that make or break a life. I can be happy with my 8 year old car and my 5 year old Coach purse, but I could never be happy without you.
So, know that happiness is not found in your wallet. I won’t lie, I was pretty spoiled through middle school and high school. I hope I didn’t act obnoxious, but I know there was very little I asked for that I didn’t get. The thing is though, as happy as I was then, I have never be as happy as I am now. My life is not perfect, but no amount of money could bring back the one thing I miss the most. And yet the smiles and cuddles I get from you and your brothers are worth more than any paycheck.
I know as you go through school and life you will begin to realize there are people with more than you. I hope it’s not something that bothers you, but I am sure sometimes it will. And I’m not even going to lie and tell you not to worry because they have money but you have parents who love you, because truth be told, they probably have parents who really love them too. Just know that having less never makes you less. And if you decide that you really want a bigger house or a nicer car or more vacations, there is nothing wrong with that, just don’t look for your happiness within those things and lose sight of the people and experiences that truly make life worth living.


Sometimes our most precious gifts are memories that cost us nothing. 

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