Taking steps to end suffering

A friend of mine recently talked about the suffering of people around the country and how people kids can’t afford to eat. The post is here. As Michelle says, “Children have no say into which families they are born.” And they don’t!

It’s not a kids fault that his dad lost his job or his mom lost her job or whatever the case may be. They are kids.

Being a kid that went through Head Start and my family struggling to make ends meet I thought I would understand the value of a dollar better. I didn’t.

I’ve learned a lot from my son, more than I thought I could. He is an extremely smart kid and if you think your kid doesn’t understand that times are tough, watch them when they see a friend at the store.

You will know how the friend reacts with their parents to how that family is doing.

When I was in sixth grade, my dad was struggling to pay the bills. I remember going to the grocery store and getting a couple of TV dinners, sodas for me and beer for him. There was a family ahead of us with a shopping cart full of groceries.

I almost starting crying, I knew we didn’t have the money for that much food in the house. My dad asked me what was wrong, “Just a bad day at school” was my response. Your kid will never let you know that they know how hard you’re trying. They understand, I know from personal experience.

Maybe it’s because of the hard times I had growing up, or because of spiritual influences lately but I believe that I should help people. Not so much for me but to set a good example for my kids.

There were times when my son was younger–when I was getting my migraines a lot more–that we were struggling financially. We have two kids now and we can never be in that place again. My son doesn’t remember that. He only remembers when I would take him to get his hair cut, we would go to lunch and maybe get ice cream afterward.

I want to show him how well we are doing and that we could be doing a lot worse.

Usually when we are at Target and he sees a toy he wants I’ll ask him, “Do you have any money?” His standard response, “No, but you do dad.” Last time I asked him that I replied with, “What if I didn’t?” He didn’t know how to respond.

I’ve shown him pictures of kids on the internet who can’t afford things or kids that live in boxes. He doesn’t understand what that’s like or why people live like that.

I’ve told him, “That sometimes people lose their jobs and they can’t afford to buy things anymore. They can’t afford a house. They have to live where they can.”

I think we are doing a lot better than most in this economy. I know people who are struggling or that can’t afford things.

This next year I’m making it a point to do something once a month for someone in need. I’m going to take my son with me–when I can–and show him what life is like for people who don’t have it so well.

I would like him to learn early that life is difficult for some people. I think this is the Buddhism talking, but learning about life and those who don’t have it so well should be every parents responsibility.

The story of Siddhartha–whose father kept life’s truths from him–is what I want to base this on. We all know people get sick, people get old, people die and some people don’t have enough to eat. I want my kids to know that from a young age.

Don’t hide the truth, because when bad things do happen you may not be there to console them. We should all strive for compassion in our everyday lives, no matter the situation.

Are you taking steps to end suffering?


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6 Responses to Taking steps to end suffering

  1. Joy says:

    Perfect. Well said, yes I try and I try to teach my children this concept, as well!! Thank youfor this important reminder today. We have to be thankful everyday for what we have… To quote the great Horton, “a person’s a person…no matter how small.”. Right? 🙂

    • BB_Baker says:

      I love Horton, one of my kids’ favorite books and movies. Giving our kids these tools are any other to get through life and be good people is the best thing we can do for them and for the rest of the world. Thanks as always for your comments.

  2. Well said. Compassion is something all should learn. Thanks for the reminder…

  3. This is such a lovely post, Bri. I agree with it all, of course. I don’t think we can expect to raise a generation of empathetic people if we allow them to be too focused on what they have and want. That is the path to entitlement, and I think we’re already seeing the fruits of that kind of thinking.

    So happy that there are parents like you. That you’re family makes it even more awesome.

    • BB_Baker says:

      We believe it’s important, as you do, that our kids know these things. That they are not too focused on material items. It’s more important to want what you have than have what you want. Wanting more is less important, it took me a while to understand that material items are not important if you have family.

      Thanks Michelle, having family like you has made this journey even better.

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