A number of years ago I read a story about children who were found in an orphanage at the end of World War II. They had suffered from a lack of material things during the war. They were undernourished and dressed in rags. Once the town was liberated material things were still in short supply, but those in charge made a special effort to see that the children had enough to eat and proper clothing. Yet, weeks went by and the children didn't seem to be doing any better. They weren't gaining weight. They still suffered from nightmares. The adults weren't sure what they could or should do. Finally someone got the bright idea to give each child a biscuit before bedtime. If they ate the biscuit, they were given a second one to hold during the night. The effect was almost immediate. The children began to sleep better. They started gaining weight. More and more smiles were seen.
When asked about it the adults surmised that the even though the children were well fed now, subconsciously they weren't sure that they'd have anything to eat tomorrow. After all, there world was fine before the war came. The simple fact that they went to sleep with a biscuit in their hand or beside them on their pillow told them that they'd have something to eat tomorrow. Just that little bit of security made all the difference to them and changed the way they saw the world.
I think that adults are like that, too. If we don't know how we'll make our next car payment there's a heightened level of stress. Add a ballooning credit card balance and we'll begin to lose sleep (just like the kids). But give us a small savings account and we sleep like babies. It's a lesson that we all could benefit from learning.
In this week's Dollar Stretcher you'll find a story that shows how one generation can pass a biscuit to the next generation. You'll find it at <http://www.stretcher.com/stories/08/08feb04f.cfm>. Now that's a real gift. Passing on a sense of security to your children. It doesn't get much better than that.
Keep on stretching those dollars!