Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Real Wealth

I wonder how often I have listened to conversations where people discuss what they would do if they won a great sum of money. Yesterday I went for a haircut, not something high on my list of priorities. My hairdresser is a lovely chatty girl expecting her first child. So full of enthusiasm she makes what could be a bad experience bearable. We were talking about holidays and the summer. She told me that this year with the coming of the new family there would be no holiday for her, unless she won the lottery.

It made me think back to when I was young and from a very poor home. How often I had dreamt of wealth. Being able to buy whatever I wanted. For a time I almost made it, playing music being self employed I was richer in terms of wealth than most of my friends.

Then I became a minister, not one of the best paid professions. I saw poverty and wealth, both extremes. I saw sadness and happiness. I saw illness and death and I saw joy beyond belief.

I also learned that there are things in life more valuable than wealth in terms of monetary wealth. The following story is just one small insight into what is a great big question of the haves and have nots. It is just something to ponder.

One day, a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. He wanted his son to appreciate what he had given him. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“It was great, Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yeah,” said the son.

“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others, and serve each other. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”

I should tell you that yesterday I was listening to some old Beatles songs. I really like the one, Money can’t buy you love.

This blog is linked to my other:-  John


  1. Good Morning Ralph, I am alive and today will be great! I don't think the Beatles ever wrote a hate song how did that become so popular. We agree totally in whealth. Nice story today. The greatest wealth is having time for others. I must tell you, I am eating today! Under normal circumstances that would be news, but I have lost
    a lot of weight so my doctor prescribed me marijuana pills!!! I will keep you posted.

  2. I really like this story, Ralph. I love how people see things differently. Its like the eye of the artist. The father meant to open the eyes of his son, but had his own opened instead. Just a wonderful surprise for him!

  3. A most beautiful story of the father and son, Ralph. I suspect that boy taught his dad a thing or three. Admittedly, however, I sure think money can buy a little happiness! LOL Then again, we've always struggled for what we have. One of my old favorite games was in the dreaming what I'd do if I had a million dollars. It wouldn't go as far as it used to, would it? LOLOL

  4. Having farmed commercially for over 30 years ... the cows were sold in 2005 ... I know first hand what the saying "bought the farm" means. Cattle and crops absorbed all the cash, but we were never hungry or cold. Each fall I dug deep to afford clothes and school supplies. The children grew up, on to college, and are now raising children of their own. If money is not your focus in life, when you need some, it comes from wherever it was. Thanks for the reflective thoughts you send through my mind this morning.

  5. Nice thought, Ralph. Good to be reminded once in a while of what is truly important in our daily lives. :-)

  6. It is so easy to put on airs and become a complainer about what one doesn't have. To shed that and to put on an attitude of appreciation and wonder ... maybe that's the path of creation. At the least, you'll invite comment about the goofy (or is that cheubic?) grin on your face!!