Money can’t buy a happy childhood: the King of Cups (Part 2)

The King of Cups sits on his throne in the tumultuous ocean. His face is warm and kind. He looks out at the shore knowing there is no need to panic. He knows his heart and mind can withstand the strongest of tides. 

Unlike the Queen of Cups, he is not a nurturer. He is a carer. He loves in a responsible manner. He expresses what is in his heart without letting the tide of his emotions overwhelm him and those around him. He does what is best for everyone involved – himself included.

A Tale from our Modern World

After 30 years as a teacher, Mr. Small Island thought he had seen it all. And then he met Little Tree – who turned his life upside down. As a teacher, there is always something new to learn. Someone new to meet. And the parents are as interesting as the students.

When he first started teaching, Mr. Small Island used to get very attached to his students. These days, he knows better. Too many kids come in and out of your life and you just can’t father everyone – despite the fact that they all have missing fathers…

And these days, mothers too. 

Many parents don’t have the time to care for their children. In the past, mothers stayed at home and fathers worked. That didn’t work. These days no one stays at home and it still doesn’t work. 

Back in the day, teachers were an extension of the parental role. These days, the teacher is usually the only parent a child has. It’s hard – being a parent to over a hundred students a year. Thirty years ago, teaching used to be a good job in this country. But kids these days…Mr. Small Island laughs each time he says or hears that. His parents used to say the same about his generation. 

Ahh… But Little Tree is special. Gifted. It’s not everyday he gets a student like that. Someone who learns quickly, is curious, and grasps concepts with the snap of the fingers. You could teach the kid anything. Little Tree is one of the finest minds he’s ever met. It’s not a once in a lifetime thing, but it sure is rare. 

Mr. Small Island has tried to explain to Little Tree’s parents a million times that their son desperately needs the right nutrients to grow into the glorious tree he is meant to be.


But Little Tree’s parents don’t have time for him. They think they can put money in the soil and expect Little Tree to grow. Such strange logic some people have… Kids don’t need money the way adults do. They need us to nurture, guide and provide the right nutrients so they can become the big beautiful trees they are meant to be.

But without the right nutrients, Little Tree simply can’t grow. 

Quite a few times, Little Tree’s parents even forgot to pick him up after school. Mr. Small Island shook his head in dismay. That is no way to treat a child. But what can a teacher do without the cooperation of a child’s parents? Nothing. 

When Mr. Small Island had a chat with the parents, they were unable to understand that it is highly traumatic for the child when the parents forget him. It is neglect. It is abandonment.


Money cannot heal trauma. Only love can. 

“Where’s mummy?” Little Tree asks. “Where’s daddy? When will they come and see me? Will they sit down and have a meal with me? Will they give me a pat on the back when I show them my awards from school? Or will they buy me another present I don’t like and let me be?”

Mr. Small Island holds back a tear. After thirty years on the job, he can still count on a six year old boy to ask the most difficult of questions. 

(To be continued…)

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