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May 31, 2013

Thoughts on prosperity

by Joan Ryan Fri May 31 2013

A couple of Sundays ago at church, I requested of our Pastor that he prayed for prosperity of our membership, community and the nation as a whole. But what is prosperity? By way of definition, the Thesaurus uses words such as wealth, affluence, riches, success etc. So, if one is to prosper, indications are that one must exhibit trappings of wealth and or success.{{more}} A prosperous individual should also be seen as a healthy and a happy one. The call to pray for prosperity was borne out of discussions I have had with persons who express their inability to make ends meet and quite a few of these individuals display signs of unhappiness, they look depressed and spoke of feelings of hopelessness. Anyone with a compassionate heart while listening to discussions of this sort must feel moved in some way. I am especially touched while speaking to the elderly, particularly those who at one time were the bread winners of their families.

Where does the concept of prosperity begin, however? I believe that it begins in the mind, in our thought processes. Do we have a desire to accomplish goals? Do we act on the need to accomplish goals? I guess the bigger question could be, have we set any goals for us to accomplish? Particularly in my discussion with children, quite a few of them do not have goals in mind and therefore are not even thinking of accomplishing anything. Many teenagers would state that they attend school because their parents send them. Prosperity is something that we first must have a need for; only then can we accomplish anything. Our desire to prosper may not lead to extreme wealth like millionaires, but it can and will lead us to a place of comfort, as we acquire material trappings and by extension peace of mind.

I have an aged friend who lives in the States and in Trinidad. Whenever he visits St Vincent, I like to chat with him because there are always stories to tell and in those stories words of wisdom. One day, he told of a lady he grew up with in Trinidad who wanted to become rich. He said as a little girl growing up, she would write on pieces of paper words like “I want to become rich”, “I will become rich” and other little notes that motivate. She stuck these notes in the bathroom and in her personal spaces, looked at and repeated them daily. She lived her life upwards to achieving her goal and he said, yes, indeed this young girl grew up to be very successful and rich. My friend spoke to me about the power of positive thinking and living. “My friend”, he would say, “do not ever think you cannot accomplish whatever you set out to accomplish. Always believe in yourself and others will believe in you too and with God’s guidance success will be yours.”

Let me go back to our children and how some of them may view goal setting and success. There can be no doubt that the manner in which we are brought up can and will influence how we think and behave. Parents have a responsibility to nurture children into becoming successful at life. That statement sounds like a simple one, but really, it is far from being simple; it is challenging at best. Families are of varying kinds (single parent, nuclear, extended etc). Challenges in raising children can be found in every family type, as families grapple with internal and external family influences. The one fact that stands out to me is that our children did not ask us to bring them into this world, a profound fact. Therefore, the responsibility for nurturing these children can be rested at no one’s door but our own. So, with God as our guide, we must stimulate our children into positive thinking for successful outcomes. One child and one family at a time will yield successful communities and successful nations.

Our prayers for prosperity should re-motivate, revitalize and rejuvenate us into believing in God’s goodness and promise of His grace and into believing in ourselves again.

A few tips as we move forward into prosperity:

  • Be more attentive to yourselves, the words and phrases you use when referring not only to yourself but also to others. Phrases such as, “you would amount to nothing”, “you are just like your good for nothing father”, “no one in your family has ever amounted to anything and you cannot make a difference.” Stop these sayings.
  • Set goals at an early age and encourage your children to set goals.
  • Be open to criticisms; some may be harsh, but always think about what you can draw from them. When someone tells you you cannot do something, show them that you can.
  • My home economics teacher at the North Union Secondary School would say to us “knock the ‘t’ out of can’t and say you can.” The Bible itself quotes in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthen me.