This Is A Form of Real Poverty

There are way too many poor families. America does a horrendous job taking care of its families. The world is full of parents who have to worry about how they’re going to feed their kids, whether they can afford to send them to school or the doctor, who experience grinding, painful poverty.

But today, we’re talking about a different form of poverty: Think of the families who have their material needs covered but barely see each other, let alone know each other. Many times here we’ve defined success as parents as ​having that crowded table​. We’ve said that “​rich is how much you see your kids.​” We’ve also told ​the story of the 2nd Earl of Leicester​, a very wealthy British aristocrat, who was walking down the hallway of his enormous home and saw a servant holding a baby. Whose child is that, he asked. Yours my lord, she replied.

Is there a poorer man on earth?

Spending time together is one thing, yet far too many families live together but hardly know each other. They occupy the same space but not the same wavelength. There are wealthy stay-at-home moms who see their kids as what they want them to be and not who they truly are inside. There are powerful, successful fathers ​who are so consumed by work​ or by their own self-importance that they have zero connection with their kids—even if they go through the motions of attending the baseball games or the recitals. These families are rich in the financial sense, utterly impoverished in the relational sense.

​There is nothing richer in this life than loving and being loved​, than seeing and being seen. In truly being together, ​we find a joy that no money can buy.​ Conversely, loneliness and isolation and being misunderstood or underappreciated? This is painful, devastating poverty, even if we live in luxury. And it’s a shameful form of poverty, because it’s something largely in your control. It’s something you don’t have to live in if you don’t want to—at least with your own kids.

So don’t.


We tell the story of the 2nd Earl of Leicester and talk a lot about how to get that ‘crowded table’ in The Daily Dad: 366 Meditations on Parenting, Love, and Raising Great Kids. In fact, the whole month of November is titled, “Give Thanks and Build Bonds”—it is the secret, as we’ve said before, to building true generational wealth for your family.

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