Motivation or Deprivation?

My middle son is graduating from college this month. A semester earlier than scheduled. He is 21, and he can’t wait to move out and start working full-time.67d5f75853e872c1b845db8f3742091d

My oldest son has taken the long road. He has another year and a half before finishing his course-work and on-the-job training as a HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) Apprentice. He’s 26 and still lives in my basement, although his pre-launch days are numbered…

My youngest son is a senior in high school planning on a seven-year commitment as he studies and prepares to become a Lutheran pastor halfway across the country. He is 17. And the jury is still out on him.

But the jury is very much seated in the box for my two oldest. And they have a verdict.

So why such a difference in motivation? And what about treating each of your children the same? Isn’t that what’s fair?

First, let’s just say parenting is not an exact science. Every child is different. Two parents can raise the biological siblings under the same roof, and same circumstances, and get two different results. Clearly.

But what we did wrong with the first one is we gave him too much.

He didn’t have to

Random shot of lazy stoner kid

work hard for everything he got. So he squandered it. Again and again. Cars. Tuition. Musical instruments. You name it. It’s been lost, stolen, ruined, or wasted.


And then God intervened in our lives and it became a necessity for our middle son to pay his own way through college with just a little bit of help from us on tuition, books, and expenses.

Now how do you think that went?


This boy has worked his butt off in school and out of it. He’s done paid internships while in school. He has spent summers doing manual labor for crappy pay.

He has started

Random shot of hard-working teens

several businesses online as a young entrepreneur.  He even goes to Goodwill and finds things he can make a profit off of by selling on E-bay.


For Christmas, he asked for fifteen specific books on entrepreneurship, business, success, etc.

Oh, and he’s an honor student in computer engineering. Not too shabby.

How’s that for motivation?

My husband and I have made some great parenting decisions and some not-so-great parenting deimages (3)cisions. And yet, if we had it to do over again, we’re not sure what we’d do differently.

Except maybe we’d have realized that deprivation can instill motivation. As Ben Franklin said, “Hunger is the best pickle.” I understand what he meant now.


In this season of excess, remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.

Jesus came into this world in a humble manger. He lived among the common sinners. He was executed between two thieves.

Thank God–by his stripes we are healed!

That’s a pretty vivid reminder for the rest of us that less is definitely more.

Thanks for reading!foxy


Susan J. Anderson

Foxy Writer Chick




8 thoughts on “Motivation or Deprivation?

  1. i read your post, liked it and moved on. then i thought, what will my kids be when they grow up? i have three too, two boys and a girl. my oldest is eleven, full of anger at the world, full of attitude, no positive thought in his mind except that he wants nothing more than to play. i gave him everything money could buy, plus all my patience. my daughter is five and my youngest if 3. My patience is worn thin with them. i no longer tolerate all the foot down arms crossed shananigans my eldest used to do – and times are leaner these days – – but my daughter and younger son are jolly full of laughter. they are all young and will change as they grow. but i couldn’t help but wonder, after i read your post, what will they be when they are older?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you, authorsinspiration! My patience was also worn thin by the time the next two came along (each kid is spaced about five years after the last) and yes, times got leaner for us as well. I don’t know of any answer for these parenting mysteries except to pray that they find their true calling in life and make the best of their blessings. One thing is for sure, each child seems to be born with his or her own disposition and personality–and that sometimes all you can do is hold on for another day. Thankfully, just around the time you want to kill them, they fall asleep. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear you. Son#1 is on a management track at work but still hasn’t finished his college degree – he’s just not interested. Son#2 is set to graduate college and is working 2 jobs. Although they are approaching life from different directions, they have managed to keep the important things in focus. I’m happy they are happy. I’m proud that they are successful – even if success is completely different for each one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely–happiness is the best kind of success. And I know when I have an empty nest, I will really miss the craziness around here, but I am also excited to see them take the next step in their lives. I’ve never understood mothers who want them to stay little forever. I had a great friendship/relationship as an adult with my father. Looking forward to taking my relationships with my sons to that next level. Happy New Year, murisopsis!


  3. Great post reminds me of Ripple
    There is a road, no simple highway,
    Between the dawn and the dark of night,
    And if you go no one may follow,
    That path is for your steps alone.
    Fox on!🦊🤶🎅

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed reading your post. Want is a powerful motivator. Parenting isn’t an easy job, d there are no manuals for sure. It’s trial and error. Our maternal instincts tell us to provide and protect, but in doing so we create safety nets for our children that do not allow them to experience the hard lessons of life and grow in maturity and character.

    Liked by 1 person

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