Once there was a wealthy father who was concerned that a privileged upbringing might give his son a limited view of life. He decided his son needed to see how the other half lived. To do this, he asked his personal assistant to find a very poor family who would be willing to allow him and his son to visit and stay with them.
After weeks of searching she found a very poor farming family who lived in an impoverished country area and organized for her boss and his son to live with them for a couple of days and nights. At the end of the visit, as they were driving back to their expensive suburban mansion, the father asked his son, “What did you think of our stay on the farm?”
“It was great, thanks, Dad,” came the reply.
Keen to see if he had achieved the mission of his visit, the father asked, “Has it helped you to see how poor people live?”
“Sure has,” answered his son.
“Well, tell me about it. What did you learn?” enquired the father.
“I learnt,” his son responded, “that while we have a swimming pool fenced into our backyard, they have a creek with swimming holes, a Tarzan rope hanging from a tree, and rapids they ride on old car tubes.”
“We have one dog that lives in a kennel. They have four that live with them.”
“Our large house stretches almost to the borders of our small piece of land. They have a small house on open fields that stretch beyond sight.”
“Our patio looks out on a neatly mown lawn whereas they view their garden, fields, trees, and hills to the very horizon.”
“Spotlights turn our yard into day at night. They have nothing but thousands of twinkling stars to light their night.”
“We have to drive to the supermarket to buy our vegetables but they grow theirs right outside the back door.”
“We have servants to serve our meals and clean our house. They serve each other and clean up together.”
“Our property has walls that fence others out and us in. Their fences contain milking cows and woolly lambs.”
“We have security alarms, barred windows, and locks to protect us while they have family and friends to protect them.”
The father looked at his son in absolute amazement.
“Thanks Dad,” the boy added. “I never realized how poor we are.”
(101 Stories for Enhancing Happiness and Well-Being Using Metaphors, p.208)
Question: How does this metaphor compare to your perception of wealth?
Manuela Zeitlhofer | Authenticity & Mental Fitness Coach
(photo by Guilherme Stecanella, Unsplash)