MOST families during these hard times, including mine, have learned to live simply. We don’t accumulate things anymore. How many pairs of shoes or dresses do we really need during the week?

Some middle-income families have even learned to whittle their viand per meal to only one of a kind. Whether this is due to necessity or due to choice, it is working quite well for many people. For lunch we have fish and for dinner we have vegetables.

The book I’m reading now is the Jesuit Guide to almost Everything by Fr. James Martin S.J. On page 188 of this thick book, I saw this line. “Living simply is healthy poverty.” I received this book three weeks ago from a close friend, Susan Sulit, who is a dyed-in-the-wool Atenean. She is reading the book for the second time and insisted that I should read the book.

On page 197 of the same book, I also found this treasure. “Living simply means that one needs less and takes less from the world and is therefore more able to give to those who live in poverty.”

I remember my mom saying, “The dress you haven’t worn for ages really should belong to somebody else.” She usually cleaned her wardrobe at least twice a year. In contrast to her generosity, I still remember some friends who would say, “I never give my dresses away. I find dress styles often coming back year after year. I can always make use of my old dresses.” How sad.

I live in an area where a lot of poor people pass by the road near my condo. I often see them walking at least two kilometers uphill from the corner of the street. I know that they do this to save P10 per motor bike ride. Times are really hard for the poor.

I also notice break time for construction workers. The poor are more generous with each other. Some bakeries sell large sized “elorde” bread at P5. They break the bread into two and share it with their friends.

I wish more bakeries will increase the size of their bread so the poor can buy something substantial for themselves. Some bakeries, however, would rather rake in more profit than share what they have.

It is time that we taught our children to live simply. Why go for snacks which cost P99 or P89? We used to be simple folks. We used to be satisfied with sandwiches prepared by mom. Do you still remember your pan de sal baon to school with guava jelly as the filling? We never complained then. Today you hear some kids ask for more than what their parents can afford. It’s really time for us to change.