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Dollar Menu Opportunities
“What’s a dollar menu?” a friend’s son asked us years ago as we went through a drive through.
“It’s what we choose our dinner from,” I answered.
“My family doesn’t do discount stores,” a girl told a friend of mine this week “WE don’t shop in such stores, and I won’t go in.”
My children are well educated in dollar menus and discount stores.
Each day, we learn of other friends or family who have lost jobs. It’s harder to be the parent facing limited income and higher bills – and hungry kids who just outgrew their clothes.
We may not realize this is a blessing for our children. In my childhood, I lived in two worlds. The first had excess, privilege, and easy spending. In the second, I had a paper route at age ten, bought all my own clothes in middle school, and left home at 18. I was given the gift of living in vastly different circumstances. Each had its own challenges.
In this downturn, we can teach our children to be frugal, self reliant, compassionate, and careful with dwindling resources. Gardens may have more food than flowers this year. We learn to celebrate the dollar menu when we have the chance to enjoy it.
We teach our children by our example. They can learn lessons: don’t waste food, spend money you have, buy used and secondhand items, and live within your means. If we eat out less, we can eat in more. The more often we eat meals as a family, with our kids, the less likely they will succumb to temptation as adults. Our hard times now equip them for challenges tomorrow.
My husband and I have owned a small business the past 9 years. We’ve known disasters and blessings. God has been with us in all circumstances, most especially years ago when our home and business burned and we lost almost everything we owned.
Years after Almanzo and Laura Wilder lost their home in a fire, they had boxes for their table and chairs. When they started their apple orchard, they had to work 5 years to turn a profit and took countless odd jobs. Almanzo described their work:
“I think that one thing that has made my orchard a success is that I took individual care of each tree. What that particular tree needed it got. Wife and I were so well acquainted with the trees that if I wished to mention one to her, I would say "that tree with the large branch to the south," or "the tree that leans to the north," etc. The tree that leaned was gently taught to stand straight so that the sun would not burn the bark....The trees came into bearing at seven years old, and the apples were extra well colored and smooth skinned. I have had apple buyers and nursery men tell me that my orchard was the prettiest they ever saw, and my Ben Davis are different from any I have ever seen in being better colored and flavored and in the texture of the flesh.”
Twenty years after they bought Rocky Ridge Farm, the Wilders realized their dream of a self-sustaining farm with dairy, poultry, and fruit and a dream house. Decades later, during the Depression, Rose used her tough childhood knowledge of gardening and food preservation to feed her friends and neighbors.