“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.”
Some time ago there lived a boy whose family was very wealthy. One day the boy’s father decided he would teach his son an important lesson about poverty.
The father decided that the best way to teach about poverty would be to travel several days out into the country and stay with a poor family.
This he decided would be the best way to teach such a valuable lesson.
The father and son travelled several days on foot until they reached the large rural barn that sheltered the poor family. They spent a full week with the family in their over crowed barn. On the morning of the eighth day the father decided that his son had the aim of the lesson and so they prepared their belongings for the long journey back to their expensive family home.
To impress the lesson upon his son the father asked the boy to tell him what he had learnt about how poor people live during their journey home.
Eager to please his father the boy excitedly recounted what he had observed:
- “They have four dogs. We have but one”
- “We live in a small house with many neigbours close by. They live in a very large house with no neighbours”
- “We own a very small piece of land, but their land spans as far as the eye can see”
- “Our family is mama, me and you, but they live with their grandparents, their brothers, their sisters, their cousins, their aunts and their uncles”
- “We have a high fence to protect us from robbers, but they have nothing to steal and friends, neighbours and family that protect each other”
- “We have a small concrete pool at the front of our house, but they have an endless river all to themselves”
- “We must buy our food at the market, but they can eat all that they want from the fields where they grow their own food”
- “We must buy fuel for our lanterns, but their light is the stars in the heaven”
…and on and on he went.
The father was stunned. His mouth hung open as his son recounted his many lessons..
Before he could respond the boy finished, and thanked his father for teaching him how poor they were.
He promised his father he would never forget such an important lesson.