Father Sez

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Can just seeing poverty give us a frugal outlook to life?

Wednesday October 15th, 2008 by fathersez

Well that is what I thought. 

I was born into a relatively poor family in India. Though we were not really impoverished. (I don’t remember ever starving). My father brought me to Malaysia in search of a better life. Whilst growing up, I made do without many of the trappings my classmates had.  I am grateful for this as I strongly believe that this was what gave me my present frugal outlook to life. It was not something read from personal finance books, rather the whole aspect of just having grown up in an environment that just did not have the trappings. 

Our children are a different story. Like parents the world over, we wanted to give a better life to our kids. As they started growing up with seemingly no feelings for or inclination to frugality, my wife and I got a little worried.

And I thought I had the perfect solution. 

We were due to go to India to visit my mother and other relatives and I thought that this would afford me an opportunity to show my children the need for frugality. A shock treatment, so to speak. whilst in Chennai (our village is about 400 kms away), we went for a tour, and I asked the driver to drive us around the banks of the river Koovum, where whole communities of the impoverished live. I thought that if my children saw these sights and the many, many children as street beggars(I don’t think we have anything like this in Malaysia, not on this scale anyway), there might be some impact. 

hovels-1.jpg

Hovels

My children, bless them, felt tremendous pity for these people. I don’t think (at least for now) that any of them might take on a Mother Theresa role in their future, but, I think, they’ll never ever forget the sights they saw. 

beggar.jpg 

A street beggar

Whilst this has not had a dramatic effect in their outlook to life, I think the thoughts will linger and when the time comes (as I am sure it will), the effects will kick in. I am hoping (actually expecting) that the effects will be for them to help others, be charitable and to do their part in alleviating poverty, Insya’Allah. 

But an immediate jump to a frugal lifestyle has not happened……yet.  

Pictures: Google

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3 Comments for “Can just seeing poverty give us a frugal outlook to life?”

by Mrchildren24
On October 15, 2008
At 2:06 pm

May Allah give us taufik n hidayat to always give our hands to the needy…and put our feet on the ground.

by eugene
On October 16, 2008
At 11:24 am

thank you the post, i share the same sentiment as yours, but very sad to say, even young adults now do not see the need for frugality, and the worst thing is they have mountains of debts and the deadliest one will be credit card debt.

I would love to see my two sons growing up rich but frugal, i have instilled in them since young that way and they must do charity when they have little extra,,,

god bless,,,,

by Amita
On October 21, 2008
At 3:31 pm

It was nice to see your post on Blog Action Day. Since you are originally from India, I thought you’d like to know about http://www.giveindia.org , a NGO that lets donors from anywhere in the world make a secure online donation to a cause of their own choice. Donors receive a feedback report in a few months so they learn about the person they helped.

GiveIndia is a very transparent and credible organisation run by professionals. We also have our own blog at http://blog.giveindia.org

Hope you’ll visit!

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