WARNING: GRAPHIC TOY VIOLENCE VIDEO BELOW
To understand why I’m posting a video depicting toy violence, we need to take a trip back through time. The year was 1998. I was being given a DTR from the girl I was dating. I say DTR, but that’s a nice way of saying I was being dumped.
I can’t say I was shocked at the dumping, but I was surprised at the reasons why. A few days earlier we had been talking about careers and family. I told the girl at the time that I’d rather be poor and working 40-hour weeks than rich and working 80. She was horrified that I would say that! How could I not be willing to put in extra hours when I was young so I could have tons of money when I was older and retired? I told her I’d rather see my own kids grow up and be poor than be a millionaire and miss that part of their lives. During the dumping, she mentioned this shiftless attitude of mine and my setting such low goals at least 63 times before the dumping was official.
“Think of all the good things you could do with money.”
This was the line I remember most from that day. The people that could be helped, the poor who could be fed, the charities that could be benefited and the places you could travel (to be missionaries and charity workers, no doubt) could change so many lives. She didn’t actually say it, but I knew she also meant to include the kids who wouldn’t get to hang out with a dad because he was at the office preparing to change lives across the world. That life-changing money was something I’d never go after, and for that reason I was to become a single guy by the end of that night.
Fast forward 17 years. I don’t know where life took that lady, but I have to thank her for asking me to choose what was most important in life. Because of a choice made back then, there are now seven [UPDATE: Eight] kids living in a small town in Idaho, all with a dad who got just what he wanted – to be able to hang out with his kids…and be poor.
And to bring it all back to why this experience made me feel the need to post such a disturbingly violent video, here goes –
As I was getting the videos off my phone today, I smiled as I watched a little girl playing with her dolls in the morning sun and I laughed hysterically as that little girl’s relationship with her dolls changed drastically in a short time. As I watched some of these videos that I had filmed personally, I remembered other (unrecorded) things that had happened during that time – nerf wars, game nights, morning chaos, one-on-one conversations and proud parent moments. None of these moments would be in the memories of those children or the memories of their dad and mom if I had gone after the bank account back then.
So… while I may never be in danger of being listed as a ‘top contributor’ to any charities, won’t ever struggle with the decision to get a new Outback every year or every other year, and am not likely to ever see a sunset in Hong Kong or hike through the hills of some exotic European locale, I get to experience things that are so much more amazing:
I get to see a little girl loading a nerf gun to slaughter innocent plastic princesses (because her dad taught her how to load the ammo the correct way).
I get to be part of a scooter gang (consisting of a 5-year-old and his low-stamina dad) when going to-and-from preschool each day.
I get to attend an afternoon play of 60 first-graders dressed as Christmas elves SHOUTING Christmas carols as a blonde-hair-blue-eyed girl gives her dad the ‘I love you’ sign and smiles.
I get to learn from a little brown-eyed girl how to do a heel-to-toe or a wounded duck (they’re jump rope tricks for those who aren’t in the know).
I get to wrestle with a 12 and a 13-year-old trying to steal a peanut-butter-cup from a helpless 40-year-old man because they claimed he was ‘eating in front of them just to tease them’.
I get to hear a 15-year-old girl ask if she can go to the store with me ‘because she likes to hang out with [her] dad’.
Simply put, I get something better than a bank account of any size –
I get to watch my children grow up.