Ramesh and the Parrot’s Feathers

When I was a child of about eight my father said to me, ”Ramesh, why do you have such a long face?’

He was always aware of my feelings, always observing and commenting on these things.

“Ramesh, why on this beautiful day, with the birds singing and the river running do you look sad? What could you have to feel sad about? The world is a beautiful place. Be happy.”

“I cannot be happy today, Father,” said I.

“And why is that, my son?”

“Because my brother has more friends than I have. I only have the two boys next door, and he has at least four friends.”

“But why should that trouble you, Ramesh? Do you not like your two friends? Are you not completely happy with them when you lose yourselves in the forest, when you climb the trees and wear parrots feathers in your hair?”

“Yes I am happy, but maybe I would be even happier with four good friends.”

“Yes I am happy, but maybe I would be even happier with four good friends.”

“Happiness is happiness, my son. You cannot measure it. You cannot count it. You must learn to know it when you have it and be content with it, and if you are not lucky enough to be happy one day, then still be content to wait until it comes to you again, for surely it will. God is great. God is watching and providing for all of his children, but it makes Him unhappy to see you with a long face. So go and find your friends, my son. You do not want to make God, your father, unhappy do you?”

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • How do you feel when you always compare yourself to people who have more friends or more possessions than you have?
  • How do you feel when you appreciate what you do have and compare yourself to those who are less fortunate?
  • Think of the most contented person you know. What can you learn about happiness from him or her?

Guidance on Contentment