sonMy nine-year-old son asked me, “Mom, what would you do if you had a million dollars?”

I immediately saw visions of more hair. And chocolate. And candles. And some more hair. And a walk-in closet where my shoes move in front of me on a conveyor belt. And more shoes. Definitely more shoes. And a new car with tons of room and no french fries under the seat. And a bigger house. Wait. Scratch that. That would mean I would have to box up this house. No way. I’m one trinket away from being a hoarder. No way I’m packing up all this stuff. I’ll just buy a new front to my house, so it will look nicer from the street.  That’ll work.

My son saw forty-seven-hundred light up Star Wars sabers – enough for all his friends to have a complete arsenal and secure his status as the neighborhood arms dealer. He saw walls lined with Chicken McNuggets and those spinning candy-filled toys at Cracker Barrel that I never let him buy because they cost more than my colonoscopy. He saw his own walk-in closet filled with super-hero costumes that never get too small, and a room full of Chuck E Cheese tokens that he thinks are worth more than quarters because they’re gold.

After a while, we got around to actually giving away some of that imagined million dollars. I’m not proud that it took us so long to get there. We agreed that we would have enough money to give to our friends and the family members that we liked – and even the ones we didn’t. And to charity. And to our church. And to feed all the dogs and cats in the world.  Because that’s the kind of people we are.  Especially now that we’re millionaires. What’s an extra thousand?

And we remembered that song “I want to be a millionaire” that we just love on the Glee album. And how the guy in the song wishes he was a millionaire so friggin’ bad. And we talked about how we shouldn’t say “friggin” inSunday School. And how the guy in the song would grant peoples’ last wishes, and give away gifts like Oprah. And it got us to thinking how easy it would be to give away gifts and grant wishes if you were Oprah.

Real easy.

Not really a sacrifice at all.

Because it’s easy to give when you have a lot.

In fact, we agreed it wasn’t that much of a sacrifice for a rich man to give away a piece of his riches.

And we remembered the story of the widow who barely had anything and gave it away. My son and I agreed that took much more of a sacrifice. That it’s easy to give when you have a lot – much harder to give when you have nothing. And maybe therein lies the test of true character. (Okay, so maybe I was the one who used the wordtherein – my son still can’t remember the days of the week.)

And we wondered why we should wait until we have a million dollars to give? What if the entire world waited until they were millionaires to give?  And my son and I came to the conclusion that what you do with a million doesn’t mean near as much as what you do with ten.

But we will still definitely get the hair and the light saber. You might as well look good while you’re giving.


Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by Our State Magazine as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at or call 1-888-766-3155.

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