The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds


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Do you consider yourself to be rich, poor, or somewhere in between? Sometimes it’s all a matter of keeping things in perspective. When I was a driving instructor, I had a young pupil who lived in a large detached house, accessed through wrought iron gates leading up to the house and a very large garden indeed. He attended a private High School and his father was the managing director of a well-known company. He was a lovely lad and we used to chat all the time, then one day during his lesson I asked what he was studying at the moment. He replied that he was studying, Deprivation in the third world,” but I was surprised when he continued that he understood all about deprivation, as he himself came from a deprived family. “How can you possibly think you are deprived,” I asked. “Well, all
my friends have holidays abroad, but my dad is always too busy to take us away,” he replied.

Which reminds me of a similar story, about a rich business man, who had a son aged eight, who didn’t seem to appreciate all that his father did for him. His father decided to send the boy to stay for a few days with a poor family who lived nearby, the family scraped a living farming on a piece of land owned by the business man. Upon his return to their luxury home his father asked him what he had learned from the visit. “Well,” said the lad, “The first thing I noticed was that they had four dogs, but we only have one. I go to school all alone in our car, but they go in a big yellow bus with all their classmates. Then there were the meals – we have to eat what cook gives us, but they tell their mum what they would like and she cooks it for them. We only have fish on Fridays, but they catch fish from the stream and can eat it any day they like. When I come home from school, I have to go to my room and play with my computer, but they feed the animals and ride horses and their dad tells them stories before they go to bed.”
“I’m really sorry father, I didn’t realise how poor we are!

“We will become strong only after we have acknowledged all our weaknesses.

Published Sun 17th Jun 2012 13:32:05

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