"I've been working for 45 years, and so has my wife. But we have no money. You know why? Because my five kids have two bachelor's, a master's, and two doctorate degrees. They are my wealth."
I was really touched by this quote. My husband and I will likely never have much money to speak of. We are careful with our finances (remember my Budgetary Smackdown and the Freedom Budget?), but still, two church workers raising five kids doesn't a wealthy lifestyle create. We will probably pay as much as we can toward our children's college educations, with them working to cover the rest. We and the kids will probably have loans too.
But as I read this quote, I read more into it. It wasn't just about money. It was the true wealth that children afford a couple. With each child we had, we knew our discretionary income would be decrease. But we also knew that our blessings would blossom thousandfold! Our children are our true wealth - worth far more than expensive vacations, designer clothes or a big fancy house.
The kids sometime say things like "Why don't we ever get to stay in a hotel on our vacations? Why can't we go out to dinner? I really, really want _____ like so-and-so has. Why is our van such a piece of poo?" A friend of mine, who has three siblings and is the daughter of a Lutheran pastor and teacher, said her parents often told her, "We are rich in God's love". I often give the children this answer when they moan and groan about being "poor" (they don't know what poor is!). It has become a bit of an inside joke now, but the meaning is not lost on them. God's love, shown to us in this instance through family, is our true wealth.
Behold, children are a heritage of the Lord