Teaching Your Children to be Gold Diggers


As I laid my daughter down to sleep I whispered in her ear, “Remember, try to be a gold digger.” She smiled, nuzzled my face and said, “I will, Mama.”

As I was blowing her kisses, closing the door to her bedroom, what I had said to her dawned on me and I had to laugh. To look at me and my home, you wouldn’t think I would be the kind of mom who would encourage my daughters to be gold diggers.

I am in no way materialistic. I did not, in fact, marry my husband for his pastor’s salary and McDonald’s coupons. My favorite place to get “new clothes is, ironically, at the thrift store. I have not bought a new pair of glasses in fifteen years. I simply buy cheater glasses at the Dollar Tree when my frames get cracked, and pop my old lenses into them (sad, but true). There are few things (if any) that I cherish for monetary value, though I have lots of trinkets worth pennies that are priceless to me for sentimental reasons. Most of our material possessions are second-hand, from cars, to furniture to appliances. My kids get most of their presents from us from the dollar store or Goodwill.

Am I cheap? Heck yes. Am I a gold digger? You betcha. Well…..an aspiring gold digger, at least.

OK. By now I’m sure I’ve either thoroughly confused you or you’ve caught on that this isn’t about money.

Recently I was listening to a Christian author on the radio talking, quoting Dale Carnegie, author of the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Carnegie said,

“Men are developed the same way gold is mined. Several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold. But you don’t go into the mine looking for dirt. You go in looking for gold.” – Dale Carnegie

This statement impacted me greatly and I found it went beyond just looking for gold in people, but also in the every day gifts God has given me. Anyone can dig for dirt. It takes someone truly determined to keep digging until they find gold.

Because, let’s face it, don’t we love dirt? Don’t we relish in the failures of others? Don’t we love the grime of pessimistic criticism we have for the people around us? Don’t we enjoy comparing our “dirt” with other people, seeing who has a bigger pile?  Don’t we love to roll in the mud of gossip? I know I do. It’s lazy, because who has time or energy for gratitude?

No. I am trying to teach my children, as well as myself (slow learner, here!), to dig deep until you find gold. As Christians, we are to put off those things, are we not? Are we not called to be new creations in Him, no longer pigs wallowing in our own filth? We are told to put off the old and put on the new, replacing the old, filthy habits with new, godly ones.

So, here I am, former dirt miner, aspiring gold digger.

It’s a tough job. I’m not going to lie to you. If it was easy, everyone would do it and we’d all be filthy rich (metaphorically speaking). But it’s tough. Days when my kids are whiny, my house is messy, my head is aching, my list is pressing, and my dogs are barking (literally and figuratively) I don’t want to dig (yep-pretty much every day). I don’t want to labor to find the gold; I don’t want to stop and take the time. I want to put my hours in and take a break, not caring what I have to show for it at the end of the day,as long as I got through it. And I miss it. Stink if I don’t miss it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Because on any given day, while I was pointing out the kids’ whining, I missed their sloppy kisses and sincere hugs. While I was complaining about a rainy day, I missed the sun’s faithfulness to come up. While I was criticizing my husband for failing to pick up his things, I missed his kissing me, encouraging me, coming home to me. As I grumbled to myself about the chill in the air, I failed to thank God for our warm home, running, hot water, indoor plumbing, and electricity. As I cursed about a minor cold that lasted a week, I neglected to thank God for days and months and years of health for me and the ones I loved.

Recently I was checking out at a store and the girls went from trying to pull things off the shelves, to fighting with each other, to begging for a candy bar all within the span of two minutes. Meanwhile I was trying to load the conveyor belt and not run them over with the shopping cart. As we were gathering our items to leave, the cashier complimented the girls on what a big help they were, each grabbing a bag. A sarcastic remark with acompanying eye roll were all ready in the chamber, but I stopped myself. For once in my blessed life, I actually stopped myself and said,” Yeah. They really are. They are a huge help to me.” It was so simple, and I barely thought anything of it until I saw their faces. You would have thought that I had cleared out that check out line of all of the candy bars and sh0wered them on them, like a delicious, miraculous, candy bar confetti parade. They both beamed at me, pleased as punch and said shyly, “Thank you, Mama.” I’m going to be honest: it cut me straight to the core and I think I left a trail of blood from the counter to the door. How sad was it that they were so used to me looking for the dirt, rarely ever seeing the gold? 

I made three plaques a couple of years ago, each part of I Thessalonians 5:16-18.  They say “Be joyful always”, “Pray continuously”, “Give thanks always”. The latter part of this verse says that “this is God’s will for you, in Christ Jesus”. He calls us to be “gold diggers”, being joyful, in giving thanks. It is His WILL for all of us who are His children to be  purposeful about looking for those things that we have in Christ, in our every day lives, in His goodness and faithfulness to us.

There is a famous story about Corrie ten Boom and her sister, Christian captives in a concentration camp during WWII. They were stuck in sleeping quarters that was infested with fleas. Corrie’s sister, Betsie, encouraged her to thank God for the fleas, because such a small detail was not beyond God’s notice or purpose. Grudgingly, Corrie agreed. They had been having secret Bible studies there, and they realized later it was the only place that the guards refused to go into because of the fleas, so they were never found out. I love this story because it is a constant reminder to me that even when things are at their worst, there is always, always, ALWAYS something to thank God for and a purpose in His plan.

So as we are nearing a new year, my resolution is this: to be a gold digger, because heaven knows I’m already filthy, stinking rich.