I walked out of a meeting and while getting into the car, I dropped my iPhone. “Sh*!” was what immediately went through my mind as I noticed the screen was cracked. I was frustrated and upset. Then, I remembered what my ten-year old son said to me after I asked him what he learned from traveling around the world.
Last year we took our kids out of school for twelve months and traveled through South America, Africa, and the Middle East. His response to my question was, “Dad, we have it really good here. We have a nice house. It has running water. Our schools are really good. And, we have food on the table.”
Surprisingly, most places don’t have all this. In the 29 countries we visited, we had to buy bottled water in 25 of them because it wasn’t safe to drink from the faucet. It kills me to see so much bottled water consumed in the United States because we have very good water straight from the tap. And, despite the two inches of rain we had last night, I am comfortable in my house with the heat on, Alexa telling me about the upcoming storm, and a fully-stocked refrigerator for when I need, well want, an afternoon snack. Again, not common throughout most of the world.
When I think about how the LCD projector was out for a few days in my kid’s classroom, I am reminded of the school in Rwanda where we taught Art for a week. It had four cinderblock walls, a corrugated metal roof, a blackboard and a bunch of two-person desks which each sat four people. That’s it. No books. No Electronics. No pictures. No Games. Nothing. And, those kids were smiling and happy.
That replacement screen cost me $100 which is still less than what many people spend in Starbucks for a month or what my wife and I would spend to go out for a romantic Valentine’s dinner. My issue was pretty darn small.
Next time something goes wrong, put it into perspective. Think about that person sleeping on the street tonight. Or, that friend who recently lost their spouse. Or, the neighbor who is going through a nasty divorce. Or…
Most of mine are First-world problems.