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Is This Really a Need??

Today I took Devin and Darius school shopping.  You know the routine; pencils, colored-markers, highlighters, compasses, usb drives (I don’t remember this one on my school list), composition books (classic), and of course the transporter of all these supplies – the book bag.   We got everything on the list, we got everything we needed, or so we thought.

It was a pretty uneventful trip, until we unpacked at home.

I’m in the kitchen preparing dinner and they’re both  showing Dexter their supplies when this exchange takes place:

Darius – “Dex, you like my book bag?”

Dex  – “Yeah.”

Dex – “Darius, what’s that other bag?”

Darius – “My book bag from last year.”

Dex – “That looks brand new.”

Me – “Huh, what?? Bring me that bag.  Darius this book bag from last year is just fine.  Why did we buy another book bag?”

Darius – “I don’t know.”

Dex – “When am I going school shopping?
Me – “Now’s not the time..”

Dex – “Ok, and by the way, I don’t need a book bag.  The one I have from last year is just fine.”

Me – “Great, that saves me some money.”


Now back to Darius.  As you can see, I spent $30 on a book bag.  $30 that I didn’t have to, but I did.  Why because I failed to conduct a proper assessment of our needs and resources before I allocated my money.


What another wonderful lesson for leaders that my children have been so gracious to teach me:


Before you expend resources, make sure you assess not only your needs & wants, but your assets.  Sometimes you already have what you need. 

Next time you write a grant, apply for a government contract, conduct a needs/resource assessment remember this lesson.

We can become so preoccupied and focused on what we want and what we “think” we need that we don’t spend ample time assessing what we have and how to leverage what we have to get more.


By the way, Dexter leveraged the fact that he already had a book bag to get extra money for clothes.  Darius is learning the value of philanthropy and donating a book bag to a church’s back-to-school drive.   Oh yeah, and in the future, we will assess what we have before we go shopping.

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