The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart. (Mencius, Chinese philosopher 372-289 BC)

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Day My Daughter Made Me Think

The Weekend Picture No. 39

I went to London with 7 year old E yesterday. We had a lovely afternoon with our friends from the charity Caring Matters Now (read about the charity challenge my lovely wife and I have signed up for here) and then on the way home I promised her a Macdonalds milk shake.

We were walking through a rainy Covent Garden discussing which flavour she might choose when we walked past a man sat on the pavement, cap upturned. He asked me if I had a few pennies I could spare and I lied that I didn't and that I was very sorry.

As we walked away and I entered into an internal dialogue about how I was right to have said no because he would only have spent the money on drugs E interrupted my train of thought by saying something that made me think.

"I feel really sorry for that man"

"Who?" I asked, knowing exactly who she meant.

"That man we just walked past, the one sitting on the wet pavement. I feel really sorry for him."

"Yes, it's very sad," I said, "why do you feel so sorry for him?"

"Well, because he's got nothing and he's sat in this really rich place, and he's got nothing. It's really sad... Can we give him some money?"

And I turned and looked at her, and I felt the rain dripping down my collar and I watched the wealth pushing past us, and I thought to myself; "She is absolutely right, it is tragic that this guy is sat on a wet pavement in the middle of Covent Garden and he is being forced to beg for money. And here I am discussing flavours of a drink I want to buy my little girl which she doesn't really need and I am lying to a guy who actually needs the money. And it takes a 7 year old to point out what I should have done all along."

So, I dug into my pocket and we made our way back up the pavement and I gave E the quid which she dropped into his pathetic upturned hat and as we turned to go I squeezed her hand because I am so proud of the girl she is becoming.

Speak soon

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