Once, a very rich man took his son with him on a trip around the country. He had one specific aim: to show his boy what it means to live without much money. They spent several days living on a farm with a very poor family.
When they returned home, the man asked his son whether he had enjoyed the trip. ’I liked it’, the boy answered. ’Do you understand now that there are very poor people out there?’ the man asked. ’Of course!’ came the expected answer. The man pressed his son still further: ’So what did you learn from our trip, overall?’
The boy answered: ’I noticed that we have one dog, and they’ve got four. We have a big swimming pool which takes up half the garden, and they have a stream which goes on forever. We have lights in our garden, but in theirs you can see the stars at night. Our house has a long terrace, but their fields go on to the horizon. We buy our food and they grow theirs. We have a fence around our home to protect us, but they have friends around them.’
The man froze in amazement. His son went on: ’I understand now that we’re actually really poor.’
Sometimes, it seems, it takes the insightfulness of a child to remind us about what’s really important in this life. We often forget about what we have, and concentrate too much on what we lack. What for one person might seem cheap and of little worth is a valuable prize to someone else. Everything depends on your perspective.