School year of time and money lessons remembered fondly

Published 4:11 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Early in the 2000’s I became a member of V.I.S.T.A., Volunteers in Service To America. This is a national program that was implemented to fight poverty in this country. The local Panola program was working to fight illiteracy.  This too was a part of the bigger program.

I assumed I would be working with adults who wanted to learn to read. However, my first participant was a very small, very shy little boy. He was struggling in the first rade to keep up with his classmates. His problem was time and money.

While rifling thru some boxes of stuff and things recently I found the folder that contained his work for me that school year. As I reflected on this sweet child’s problem and my interaction with him I began to realize that perhaps time and money are a struggle for us all at some point in our lives.

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The little boy could not comprehend how to tell time from an analog clock with hands and numbers and he could not understand how to count money, or how to break it down from paper to coins.

So the first thing I taught him to do was tie his shoes.

We worked on this for two weeks, meeting twice each week.

This of course had nothing to do with time or money, but it gave him the confidence to approach the things he was having trouble with.

As the school year closed the two of us had learned all about money and time.

I wonder from time to time if it has helped him as he grew into a young man. He would be in his mid-20s by now and I am sure he knows a great deal more about life and time and money from a different perspective. I told you this story because time and money is something I don’t grapple with as much anymore.

All of us are afforded the same amount of hours each and every day. What we do with those hours is the struggle. If you are a young married couple you struggle to find time to spend together post the carefree dating years. If you have added children to the mix you are now struggling to prioritize family, work, home and extra curricular activities.

Once your children age you spend time worrying if you have instilled the right information in them and how they will navigate this old world.

As grandparents your time is spent spoiling those children and watching as they grow quickly away from your laps and lives, as they busy themselves with their own.

Now that retirement has entered your lives you look forward to long unstructured days perhaps reading, gardening, traveling or becoming involved in a new hobby.

I have looked forward to these years myself and relish each day when I arise and realize that this is my day and I have earned the right to spend it how I wish. Of course things will get in the way of that from time to time. But one thing that I don’t spend a lot of time on anymore is money.

Dear Don and I have always lived a frugal simple life and the transition from working to not has not been as stressful as I once thought.  Yes, he is ill and some days don’t go exactly as we want but here we are together and enjoying the hours at home as we once longed to do.

It is easy to get bogged down in life and keeping yourself afloat can be tricky. But each night I go to bed tired and satisfied that I made the most out of this day. Hopefully, I can continue to do just that.

Stay tuned.