Sunday, November 18, 2012

Are We Poor?

"Are we poor, Mom?" my eight-year old son asked as we sat around the dinner table on a winter evening in 1998.

I looked at him as if he had two heads. "Poor? What makes you think we're poor?"

"Cause we can't afford to go to Disney World."

I looked at him as if he had three heads. "Really, Greg? You think we're poor because we can't afford to go to Disney World?"

His ten-year-old brother, Max, must have detected that I'm about to give a lecture tone in my voice, and excused himself.

"Sit down," I said.

"Why Mom? I know we're not poor."

"Sit down," I said with my well-rehearsed mother voice.

The questions began. "Are you ever hungry and can't find anything to eat?"

"No," they said.

"Are you ever cold and don't have a place to get warm?"


"Do you play hockey and ski?"


"Poor kids don't play hockey and ski."

"We get it, Mom," my son Max said in his almost teenager voice.

"Well, I hope so. Not being able to go to Disney is not the definition of poor," I said making an instant commitment to sign us up to work at the soup kitchen the next weekend, which we did (that just gave me an idea for a future blog post).    

I've never forgotten that conversation. It is a reminder that I always need to be grateful for what I have, not complaining because something is missing. Sure, I want things, dream about vacations, but I catch myself if I start to pout because those desires are out of my financial reach.

That is why every Thanksgiving I pull this essay out as a reminder of my many blessings. You may have seen it before, but it's a valuable re-read, especially before the holiday shopping madness begins. The numbers may be different because this was written several years ago, but the sentiments are the same:

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million people who won't survive the week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 20 million people around the world.

If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than nearly three billion people in the world.

If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If your parents are still married and alive, you are very rare, especially in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder, you are blessed because you can offer God's healing touch.

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read anything at all.

You are so blessed in ways you may never know. If you are feeling blessed, repay the blessings bestowed unto you and do something for others.


May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! ~ Peggy


I was lucky enough to see this scene at dusk when
I went for a walk the other evening. I had to share it!


  1. Thank you for a very enjoyable moment and a lovely photo!

  2. Wow, outstanding! Humorous, touching, and profound all at once. Thank you.

  3. Wonderful post, Peggy! I had read the essay before but it is always an excellent reminder of all the many blessings we do have! Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. I reposted this on my Facebook page. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Thank you for your lovely reminder of how lucky we are. I'm sure your sons will never forget that conversation.
    (My son's name is Max too.)

  6. Great thoughts on Thanksgiving, Peggy. Love the conversation memory and the poem. During the campaign, when politicians asked am I better off today than I was four years ago, I always thought "yes". I'm not sure my 401k is better (and I don't dare look to compare). But my life continues to get better, like a red wine does over time. I'm thankful that I can find richness just looking at a nighttime sky. Chris

    1. I agree Chris. The things that bring us true joy don't have anything to do with money.

  7. Happy Thanksgiving, Peggy! We truly are blessed, even the worst in this country have more than in many nations from what I hear. It's time to look up to the heavens and thank God for all the blessings we have, since Thanksgiving IS about giving thanks to God. And while I'm at it, I will thank Him for the beautiful picture you posted. Isn't He wonderful! Deirdre

  8. We in America truly have no idea just how wealthy we are. Great post, Peggy. Thank you.

  9. What a wonderful post Peggy! It reminds me of what's really important!! Sometimes that's needed.

  10. So much truth here. If Americans are poor in any way it is in the poverty of perspective as you have well illustrated in this post. Even those who within the realms of our nation are considered poor are far from poor compared to the standards of many parts of the world. In this country we have the potential of opportunity for those who are willing to look hard enough for it.

    Wrote By Rote

  11. Great post Peggy!

    People need to be reminded to count the blessings they do have, which are many compared to some places.

    Beautiful picture too.

    Happy Thanksgiving,

  12. Sooo right on Peggy! Great post and I'm following you back! I also can so relate to that conversation with your son. I remember a similar one! That is one thing I have always tried to do, appreciate!

  13. Peggy, go to Catnip has bestowed the Shine On and/or Reality Blog Award to you. Grab the badge(s) and post to your site if you so desire. Be sure to leave a comment so I know you stopped by and hopefully accepted!

  14. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Kick back and enjoy the day!. Save your shopping for Friday. The tipping point to extreme commercialism during the holidays has to be stores opening at 8:00 on Thanksgiving. Let's all of us kick back people boycott.

  15. Amen, Peggy!
    It was wonderful reading this blog posting today. So many of us tend to complain about what we don't have and forget to look at how blessed we really are. I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving with much joy and laughter.