The 4th of July in my neighborhood is special. We line our yards with American flags. This has been such a tradition that some when they move out of the neighborhood pass down a box of flags and July 4th decorations to the family moving in so they have the proper items for this event.
Then we have the annual parade. This year marked the 50+ year in a row.
The kids work hard the night before and that morning to decorate their bikes or other mode of transportation with red, white, and blue. At 10 am sharp, the kids start at one end of the street and the parade begins.
The adults line the street to smile, clap, and wave when they go past. Some children throw candy which they got from a local parade the night before that they attended. When they get to the end of the street (just one block down) they turn around and come back… it takes less than 10 minutes in total.
It is adorable.
Afterwards, friends and neighbors meet for a potluck brunch. We eat. We talk. We catch up on the news of everyone. We meet new neighbors who have recently moved on the block. This year a large topic of conversation was about sharing how much damage each of us had in our basements from the heavy rains and flash flooding that happened a few days before. And we all discuss how lucky we all are because so many in our city had it much worse.
As the adults talk, the kids play.
Barricades that have been put up for the parade stay up and this becomes the one day of the year that the little kids can ride their bikes and play in the street. Water balloon fights, slip-n-slide, and basketball games happen throughout the day. The last couple of years we have had a pinata. One year we even had a dunk tank!
Later in the day we have a second round of food and everyone eats too much for the second time in the day. Fun for all. Memories made. It is a great day and I look forward to it each year.
Wealth is not just about money. THIS is also wealth!
Relationships are wealth!
Why do some of the poorest places on earth seem to have some of the happiest people? I believe it is because of relationships and community. As they say, “you can’t take your money and stuff with you…” But your relationships you had and the memories you had together will carry on even when you are gone from this world.
Unfortunately, our neighborhood is unique in our country. I don’t think it used to be. But today, many don’t know their neighbors. If you have a block like mine, cherish it… I sure do. And do whatever you can to keep it going.
I take comfort in knowing that if I became completely broke tomorrow, I would still be wealthy. I have a strong church community, a great neighborhood, close friends, and a close-knit extended family.
This type of wealth is more important than monetary wealth; not even close.
When you plan your finances, don’t forget to also plan ways to build relationships and community. To connect with people. To help others.
Stuff you can’t take with you. But relationships, the memories you create, and the impact you make, will live on and on.