My Wife and Daughter Survived

About a year after we were married, my wife Sharee was expecting our first child when she became deathly sick and had to be hospitalized. Doctors discovered she had a football-sized cholodocal cyst that couldn’t be completely removed without causing further complications. Throughout the pregnancy she battled pancreatitis and cholangitis and nearly died. Miraculously Sharee and our daughter Mailee made it through. But that wasn’t the last time it’s been touch and go for Sharee, but through it all she’s only grown stronger through the adversity—and taught us all to do the same. Sharee is someone who lives with gratitude.

On the other hand, look at something as simple as Christmas morning for some families. The parents complain that their kids have gotten too focused on the commercial aspect of Christmas, but at the same time, it looks like they dumped the contents of the entire Sky Mall catalog under the boughs of the tree. The size of the bounty isn’t often the problem, however, it’s the kids’ attitude: comparison and competition. After the unwrapping frenzy, the kids will start complaining:

“Mom, why did Suzie get a mountain bike, and I just got a scooter?!”

“Dad! Sam got a Galaxy phone. Why did I get an iPhone? I hate those!”

“My clothes came from the department store—why did Allie’s come from the boutique?!”

Competition and envy are symptoms of the scarcity mentality. It’s the idea of: if you have something great, that’s bad for me; or if you have success, then I should have the same exact success, too.

As I explain in my latest book, Entitlement Abolition, the opposites—cooperation and gratitude—are empowering demonstrations of an abundance mentality. They enable people to think “If you have something great, I am happy for you; or if I can help you succeed, I will be fulfilled.”

This scarcity versus abundance dichotomy plays out in society, as well, with things like healthcare. It amuses me that we’ll spend hours debating the “right” to healthcare, when the real issue is not about rights; it’s about taking responsibility for our health. We all have individual responsibility to take care of ourselves—to be self-reliant. Even if we choose bad habits, poor nutrition, or lack of exercise, yes, everyone should have access to healthcare. But we begin to cross a costly line if we insist that the people who choose to be healthy must pay for the people who choose bad habits, and provide them with healthcare rather than teaching preventative measures.

These are the kinds of difficult discussions that cause nothing but irritation and animosity between those who are giving (the tax payers) and those who are constantly receiving (the tax eaters). Just recently in the great country of America, the tide has turned to where there are now more tax eaters than there are tax payers. We must seriously look at reversing the direction we’re going, rely on fewer government programs, and look more to the citizens being responsible and accountable. The national debt and spending budget in America are out of control.

Whether it’s in our society or in our families, we must do everything we can to cultivate abundance and empowerment over scarcity and entitlement. We must reinforce gratitude rather than envy. And we must appreciate what we have—and even don’t have, recognizing that it’s all for our learning and experience. As we do, we’ll live life more fully, and enjoy the journey more.

If you would like to learn more about abolishing envy, get my newest book for free, Entitlement Abolition by clicking here.


Doug Andrew