Post by Sonia Toledo, Dignity of Children Founder.
This month at DOC, we’ve been thinking about wealth.
Not about money—not what it means to be rich, but what it means to live a rich life.
Growing up as I did, with a mother who worked two jobs to put food on the table for eight children, I developed a mindset of never enough. I thought there was never enough, that we would never have enough. No one in my life taught me about financial wellbeing. Maybe, because no one in my life understood it.
Recently, I’ve been reading The Richest Man in Babylon, a book written nearly 100 years ago by George S. Classon. Not until reading it did I start to understand what wealth and prosperity are, and that a rich life starts with self-worth and continues with gratitude.
The book lays out a framework for a prosperous life. First, develop a sense of self-worth. Teach yourself to believe that you are worth everything you wish for. Then, set clear goals to attain what you want. Define what you want, then create a plan to get there—through education, discipline, creative thinking—whatever it takes. Once you know that you are worth it, everything gets easier. Finally, be grateful. For what you have and for where you came from. Be grateful for everything, and remind yourself to do that, every day.
Not until I changed my mindset from that of never enough, and instead began to celebrate my self-worth, set goals that extended from the value I placed in myself, and practiced embracing gratitude, did I completely understand the root and result of true prosperity. And then I began to realize that I am enough.
How do we create these habits in children, so that they can lead prosperous lives?
What you believe about yourself you are, and what you believe about yourself is true.
Realizing self-worth is the result of recognizing and declaring your value. Think about the habits you’ve built over time, that allow you to show up for yourself every day of your life. What thought processes, rituals, and support systems have you put in place to develop confidence and keep a positive mental attitude? How have these become habits, and how do they contribute to a mindset of prosperity?
And, how can you share them with children? To live lives of prosperity and richness, children need to develop confidence and self-awareness. You can help children along their paths to becoming conscious beings through a process of self-inquiry. Start by asking them to answer these questions:
• What am I good at?
• What is unique about me?
• What do I want to contribute to the world?
From questions come answers. From inquiry comes aspiration.
How do you set goals for yourself? What procedures do you use, and what habits have you created to help you achieve them? How do you spend your days in support of your goals? How do you develop and exercise your mind and body in pursuit of prosperity?
By sharing our habits and mindsets with children, we can teach them how to set clear goals. And by being honest with ourselves and them, we can foster in them the belief that they can create any goal they desire.
Once children have had the opportunity to practice developing self-worth and defining their unique value, allow them to reflect on how they can apply it. Ask:
• What will the world look like in five years? Ten?
• How will you use your unique qualities to contribute to the future?
• What career goals do you want to set now? What short-term goals can you put in place to achieve the future of your dreams?
You have to be grateful for what you have, for more to come.
Classon writes that recognizing the value of what you already have is the foundation of a rich person’s mindset. Practicing gratitude creates the frame of mind needed to be generous and liberal, which are both necessary for a life of plenty. In short, you only get what you give. What are you grateful for, and how do you practice gratitude?
By setting an example of gratitude for children, you can set them on a path that will help them give and receive more. Allow children to reflect on and respond to these prompts:
• What are you grateful for?
• What have you forgotten to be grateful for?
• What choices can you make in your daily life to develop a mindset of gratitude?
And then ask yourself, What are more ways to help youth develop a mindset of prosperity? How can you lead children to their own definition of wealth?