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Pearls of Wisdom

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Jacqueline M. Ward is an economist, entrepreneur, avatar and writer. She unschools her three children on the South side of Chicago where she is active in the homeschooling community on a state and local level.

Jacqueline serves as the contact person for the South Side of Chicago for Illinois H.O.U.S.E. (Home Oriented Unique School Experience) a state wide, nonsectarian organization with 17 chapters throughout the State of Illinois. She is also the contact person for the City of Chicago for families who are interested in homeschooling; and the co-coordinator of the Mid-South House group, a support group of 30 predominantly African-American families on the south side of Chicago.

Her family’s motto is “the world is our classroom” and they have traveled extensively domestically and abroad in pursuit of their education. She is currently working on a book on traveling abroad with children for African-American audiences.

Our lives. What millionaires would lead…if they could afford it

This is my new mantra. It came to me as I was just thinking about how blessed I am to be able to stay home with my children. "Ahhh", I thought to myself, "we homeschoolers are the envy of the world."

These are my thoughts on those days when my friends who don’t homeschool call me in a panic over a childcare arrangement or other crisis related to the awesome balancing act of working full time and raising children. "But wait", I say to myself later after some further thought, "If we are so fortunate, why is that pretty much across the board we are all challenged financially?" There is no reason why anyone should be suffering. We live in a community/world/universe full of abundance. Why aren’t we getting our share?

Of course the answer is complex and I am not trying to simplify, but, having experienced a whole range of financial situations, from being homeless to abundance, I must say that there is nothing honorable about denying ourselves our just financial dues. We are as entitled to the abundance of this world as the next one…maybe even more so. Me personally, I am done with a life of deprivation. No more will I search through couch cushions looking for gas money. No longer will I plan our weekly meals around who is having a birthday party or hosting a Tupperware, Usborne or Melaleuca demonstration and will there be food. I am moving on up! Are you with me?

Oh, and it’s not just me! There is a movement in the community. During a recent sleepover, I was sitting and talking with my friend Ife, a fellow homeschooler who is also a single stay at home mom of two. We have both suffered through some severe financial hardships but we both agreed that this has been one of the most prosperous years for us yet. We compared notes and were struck by how similar our experiences have been. In particular, there were six steps that we agreed upon that have helped us to turn our lives around and placed us on the road to more abundance.

Step 1: Get rid of the "lack" mentality. Stop thinking of yourself as lacking, but assume a posture of gratitude and appreciation for all of the things that you have. Thoughts are very powerful and are "first cause." Thoughts push words out of our mouths (second cause) and words lead to action (third cause). Therefore, you must monitor your words and thoughts very carefully. Stop thinking of yourself as a supplicant living in a world of "lack." Never, ever use the following phrases: "I have no money," "I am poor,"  "I am broke." Proclaim who you are…a co-creator of the Universe. Know that every desire is but a thought away. Proclaim!

Step 2: Behave as though your prayers have already been answered. If you ask for a house, start packing. If you need a new car be specific about color, make and model. Plan a road trip. Buy a cute bumper sticker. Have Faith!

Step 3: Clear the way. Sometimes we hold on to so much clutter and garbage that it is hard for our blessings to find a place to settle. Clear your space, both physically and emotionally and place yourself in a posture of receiving. Sometimes we ask for things but we have not prepared ourselves for the gifts. Rid yourself of things that you are not using…pass them on to friends or the Salvation Army. When we detach ourselves from possessions, be they emotional or physical, new and more wonderful things show up to take their place. But the key here is to replace only what you are willing to give away. Don’t accept a gift of a new piano and hold on to the old one…pass it on. You can’t accept a gift of love, if you are holding on to anger or hurt. Release!

Step 4: Steward what you have. How can you possibly hope for more if you are wasting or not taking care of the that which you already possess. Recently, in preparation for our abundance, I sat down with my children and combed through our budget. I was amazed at the waste. A subscription to both AOL and MSN! (cancel that). Coffee deliveries every month from Gevalia, lured by promises of free coffee maker, which ended up costing me about $200 in coffee that I didn’t drink. Dues to a health club I never visited (found a cheaper deal to the same club for 1/3 the price and guess what? I started going!). In total I ended up saving about $140 per month just from eliminating waste from my recurring expense category. Steward!

Step 5: Pay yourself first or give it away. Both Ife and I had a 10% rule. Her rule was to take 10% off the top and pay herself. Mine was to give the first 10% away. In my quest to raise myself from a mentality of lack, I read all the books on "how to become a millionaire". Similar to Ife’s idea, they all agreed that you should pay yourself first. In one book, "The Automatic Millionaire" the author suggested that you have automatic payments come out of your paycheck so that you never even see the money. Have 10% of your paycheck go to a credit union for example, and vow not to touch it. But, don’t do like my sister and have the money taken out on Friday and show up 8 a.m. Monday demanding it back. Let it sit. Forget about it!

Another common theme in my readings was that enlightened millionaires give the first 10% away. For some reason it was easier for me to latch on to this concept than the one of paying myself first. So now, every time I receive a gift from the Universe, I take out my check book and start writing checks to people who I have been thinking about. Share!

Step 6: Create the world that you deserve. We are co-creators of a Universe filled with abundance. Surely we are entitled. Consciously and responsibly partaking of abundance will not deprive other’s of theirs. Ask for "Create-ive" energy and be open to new ideas. Communicate your new found hope to your mate and your children. Work in concert with your community who are also deserving of your prosperity and generosity. Create!

And finally, know that all is perfection…Know it!

"Ahhh," I thought to myself, "we homeschoolers are the envy of the world."