As you build your life, as you care for your children and as you guide them to become who you want them to be, ask yourself, “Am I taking time to build the “Cheerios” moments?” Now those of you that know me, know there are no cheerios in our household, but I do like the term and I do make great effort to build these kind of moments with my girls and my loved ones as a whole.
Herson and I know the pressure of wanting to create financial stability for our children and our family. Wanting to take a vacation and put our kids into special programs such as horse back riding, dance and sports. We also know when you are building your future, the extra money (or time) is not always there to provide these experiences. Maybe you can’t buy your kid the favorite game they want or go on a cruise. We’ve been there, and are still there at many times.
This used to cause great pressure on me to want to make more, do more, so I could give my kids everything they deserve. Then one day it hit me! I was working so hard to make the money, to make the dreams I thought they wanted, but I was not taking time to create the “Cheerios” moments. When you feel pressured to get ahead, to get a promotion, extra education or the bonus, you can change your personality. You can start to overwork, become crabby or short with your kids. All the while not realizing that your kids have all the wealth they need, YOU!
Herson and I, both came from financially and educationally challenged backgrounds. Our parents did not have a lot of money, nor did they know how to help get us in to the best college, on the best sports teams or in the extra curricular activities. What they did know is how to make the “Cheerios” moments! They knew how to work hard, love unconditionally, share gratitude, give to others, be patient, kind and loving! They wanted to give more money, more vacations, more activities, but money was not how they were able to show love and we did not suffer from the lack of extras in our life.
Growing up with less, can make you want to work your butt off to GET MORE so you can either GIVE MORE of HAVE MORE!
It can keep you so busy that you may forget the truly important moments are the “Cheerios” moments.
At this point, you may be asking, “What the heck is a Cheerios moment?”
I am glad you asked!
There used to be a wonderful video I could share, expressing the innocence of two young children, Zach and Kate, who lost their mom to cancer. The video has since been removed due to ownership rights, but this was one of the most touching moments ever aired on the Oprah Winfrey show!
Because Zach & Kate’s mom, Kathleen, had known she was dying, the family had decided to spend time taking trips and connecting as a family while she was still alive. Oprah asked Kate what her favorite moment from that year had been.
“One day when I came back from swimming,” she said, “my mom was in bed. Mom said, ‘Kate, would you get me a bowl of cereal?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ A week before she died, I was in my parents’ room.
I said, ‘Mom, would you wake me up if you go downstairs to get a bowl of cereal?’ So at 2 in the morning, we had a bowl of Cheerios together.” What Oprah and we as viewers found so powerful about Kate’s story: They’d been everywhere from Palm Springs to Disney World, but what Kate remembered was a simple, intimate moment of connection. The producers and Oprah called this the Cheerios moment from that point forward.
If you have achieved financial success, know that although your family may appreciate the extras, it’s the “Cheerios” moments that will last in their hearts forever, not the money. If you are struggling to create financial success or you never care to have more than you currently have, that is ok too. Many of us have been there. You still have all the wealth you need to give your children the ability to have a FULFILLING life! You can give them the confidence, self esteem, love and security needed to teach them how to sustain themselves! Take time away from the computer, the TV, the bills, the bank account or the shopping spree and ensure there is some special quality time with you and your loved ones.
During our tightest times with money or time itself, we’ve done simple things like surprise our kids with a camp out in their room, watch planes take off at the airport on the top level of the parking garage at night or set up a make believe spa day at home with cucumbers on their eyes, a clay mask and towels on their head. Our children rarely felt the effects of financial strain. We attempted to make them feel safe, secure and rich versus worried, stressed and scared. Build a fort with your child, create a picnic or walk in nature. If you have no kids, do this with your friends and family. Be spontaneous, simple, spoil them, love them, praise them for what is right! Try not to let the pressures of everyday life or their less than perfect behavior hold you back from giving authentic love and words of kindness. No matter how much money or time you have, take a few special moments to create something that money can not buy.
In the end, the “Cheerios” moments are the only investments that can truly offer a lasting return!