With the unemployment rate in some parts of the nation still at near record highs and the budget deficit now over $16 trillion, it’s somewhat difficult to keep perspective and put a positive outlook on things. However, there is one thing for sure. As a people, we can’t give up. That’s not even a consideration. We have come through rough seas before and we will again. When the going gets tough, that’s when the tough get going.
My prayer, along with the prayer of millions of others, is that our leaders will soon get our economy turned around and headed in the right direction. In the meantime, we all need to keep perspective and realize just how fortunate we really are in the United States of America. Regardless of where you are financially, how long has it been since you stopped to count your blessings?
If it’s been a while, a friend sent me an article a while back that may be worth thinking about.
“One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country, with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.
“When they returned home, the father asked the son, ‘How was the trip?’ The son replied, ‘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 our trip today?’ 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 yard and they have a creek that has no end. We have 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. 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 the son added, ‘Thanks Dad, for showing me how poor we are.’”
The article concludes with these thoughts, “Isn’t perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for what we have, instead of worrying about what we don’t have.” Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends.
As you know, everything is relative, and a few months ago we had a terrific program at our Lions Club that really brought this home to me in a very compelling way. My friends, Bret Carroll and Jason Rapert, who are Rotarians and live in Conway, had just returned from a mission trip to Ghana on the West Coast of Africa. They brought along some mementoes, photos and slides to share with our club members. While this nation of 23 million people is far from being the poorest country in Africa, the people who live there are in dire poverty, and this is especially true when it comes to modern conveniences, the things we just take for granted.
The commentary by Bret and the pictures we were shown brought this home in a very graphic way. It’s difficult to describe the scenes we saw as they have no running water, indoor plumbing or even enough to eat. Ironically, the children there all seemed to be very happy. In a way, this was really true perspective.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)