Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Making a Contribution

I've been hearing an interesting turn of phrase lately from some of the young moms I know. In my paraphrase, they have said, "I'd like to make some money so I can feel like I'm making a contribution to the family income."

I was thinking about this concept of "making a contribution" more this morning. While I certainly don't think it's wrong for a wife to work part-time or casually when her family is young, I do think there's a subtle influence by the world that maybe we should check on. I have taught piano and done a few odd jobs over our 23 years of marriage. Not every year but occasionally and we certainly appreciated the extra income. But I think maybe we should shift our thinking just a little and realize some truths that tend to get overlooked.

Here are some examples:

* When you are careful when you are grocery shopping and stay within your budget, you are making a contribution.
* You make a contribution when you give gifts that are within your means.
* You are contributing to the household income when you cheerfully accept hand-me-downs from friends or family and are thankful for God's provision.
* When friends have a bigger income, bigger house, more toys and a bigger budget for special occasions, you are making a contribution when you rejoice with them and push envy and discontent away.
* When a friend wants to go for dinner and you've already used up your budget for the month, you make a contribution when you cheerfully suggest that they come over to your house instead, even if it's just for scrambled eggs and toast.
* When you provide a meal every night for your family to sit down to, you are making a contribution.
* When you refuse to complain to your husband about his wages and instead cheerfully thank him for his hard work, you are making a contribution.
* When you have the opportunity to go on holidays with your family and you are grateful for the opportunity, you are making a contribution.
* When your child asks for a special treat at the grocery store that you can't afford,  and you cheerfully say no but promise that you'll find something to do or eat at home, you are making a contribution.
* When you manage your household finances in such a way that your family can give generously to a missionary or church project, you are making a contribution.
* When you are wise in how you spend your funds on your clothing and your children's and refuse to get caught up with the "latest and greatest" fad or name brand, you are making a contribution.
* When you save up to give your children a special experience or treat, you are making a contribution.
* When you plan ahead and bring snacks with you instead of buying a snack or lunch when you are shopping, you are making a contribution.
* When you give up the little things that used to make you so happy, like a specialty coffee drink every day, you are making a contribution.
* When you are happy to stay home for "date night" and drink tea with your husband, you are making a contribution.
\* When you take your kids to the library and teach them the joy of sharing books with others, you are making a contribution.
* When you do some research on the best way to run your home, to save on energy costs, to keep your household clean and tidy, you are making a contribution.

I could go on but I'm sure you get the idea. "Making a contribution" looks different in every family but wives, realize that one of the best ways you can do that is to spend (or not spend) your family money wisely. Your care of the household budget is one of the biggest ways by which you can bless your husband and your family.

And if you do have a part-time job or an occasional money-making day, praise God for it. And decide with your husband how it will be spent - whether to contribute to the family income that month, pay down a debt or even to put toward a class you want to take or a hobby you enjoy doing. Just recognize that you "make a contribution" each and every day by your joyful service of your husband and your family.

I'd love to hear other ideas in the comments about how you can "make a contribution"!


Kim Shay said...

Our kids all had part time jobs when they were in high school. It was to help them save money for university as well as for their own use. Their own money meant we had to spend less of the family income. I made sure I supported that by driving them to work, picking them up, and making sure they were well fed before they took a shift. I think that's a way to contribute as well.

Apple Jack Creek said...

Thank you for this. My mom sent me a link to this post, knowing it was something I'd need to read.

I was hit with delayed PTSD in early 2011 and forced to leave a high paying career in IT to recover and cope as best I can (with insurance coverage denied). It has been so difficult to see the things I *do* contribute to our family, because the scale and type of my contributions has changed so dramatically. When I was first off work, I couldn't even put my own dishes in the dishwasher after supper, but now I manage all the meals and cleanup ... so yeah, I'm contributing more than I was, and it is good to celebrate that.
Thanks for the reminder. :)

(You may know who I am ... your father was pastor at the church we attended when I was very small, in Lively - and I have very vague memories of playing at your house sometimes!)

Juanita Stauffer said...

Apple Jack Creek:

Could you give me a little hint as to your name? I'm drawing a blank but your profile doesn't help too much. ;-)

You can email me privately if you wish: jamandbooks at gmail dot com.