Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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Posts Tagged ‘koovum’

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

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

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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