a matter of perspective

a father of a wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the intention of showing him how poor people live so his son would be grateful for the luxurious life he had been provided. they spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. on their return home, 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. “well, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

the son answered: “we have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, but they have a creek that has no end. we have imported lanterns in our garden, but they have countless stars at night. our patio reaches to the front yard, but they have the whole horizon. we have a small piece of land to live on, but they have fields that go beyond our sight. we have servants who serve us, but they serve others. we buy our food, but they grow theirs. we have walls around our property to protect us, but they have friends to protect them.”

the boy’s father was speechless. then his son added, “thanks, dad, for helping me to see how blessed others are so that i can better appreciate what few blessings we truly enjoy.”

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    Great story. It just goes to show how innocent we are as young kids before we get caught up in the race and one-upmanship. Also a good reminder to try to keep that perspective of the kid, even when we are most entrenched in our modern daily lives.

  2. Deb J says

    Great post. We all have to chose whether we are glass half empty or glass half full people. I choose to be the latter. I choose to see what I have as blessings and what I don’ t have as just extraneous fluff. This is a great story.

  3. says

    A wonderful story! Thank you for sharing it. Did you write it or can you give an attribution for it?

    I am a performance storyteller and would love to pass this one on to my audiences.

  4. says

    This is a wonderful story. I am very glad that I have found your guest post on ZenHabits and discovered your website.
    The story made me think about the blessings in my life and look at them from different perspectives. I definitely have room for improvement but generally the blessings that I already have are priceless for me.

  5. says

    The idea of a minimalist lifestyle has been wandering around in my head since the 70s, and I’m sorry to say it was never in the forefront of my thinking. However, there is no time like right now, and your stories on minimalism and the benefits it brings to the soul have inspired me. I was a Creative Director for a large corporation until 2001, when I became disabled with chronic pain after a failed back surgery. After 9 years, I’ve allowed myself to become complacent and have almost lost that creative, energetic, motivated person I once was. I sincerely hope to dig in and find that exciting woman, and to use my creativity to sustain my livelihood once again. Thank you for your inspiration.

  6. says

    I love, LOVE this! I read several of your blog entries for the first time tonight and I am so inspired! My family of four also lives in the suburbs- you give me hope! I’m looking forward to reading more about your journey.
    Thank you.
    Julie McKee

  7. Carole Anne Sarah says

    I so enjoyed this until the last sentence. Then I read that you had changed the last paragraph. Is it possible that you can tell us what the original ending was? Perhaps you can tell us how to find the original. Thank you anyway for sharing this. I love the picture too.

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