In 1975 I brought my son Ben [I prefer not to reveal his last name] to an interview with Trungpa Rinpoche. I got him as dressed up as I could manage from Berkeley CA’s pathetic department-store stock. Ben was eight. I worried about him because he had practically no friends. I knew he was lonely. He would come home from school and watch cartoons on TV. In the interview Rinpoche asked Ben several simple questions about his life and his interests. Ben invariably answered the questions in the briefest possible way. It was clear that he didn’t want to be in the room with Rinpoche.
After about five minutes I said to Ben that he could wait in the adjoining room; I’d be there soon. Then I told Rinpoche that Ben didn’t have friends, and I spent a lot of time worrying about him. His reply was the single most helpful advice I have ever heard to a worried parent. I remember it word for word:
“I don’t see any problem, particularly. Children come into the world with their own karmic baggage. As a parent, all you can do is love them and not put obstacles in their way.”
I felt enormous relief. I saw that I didn’t need to worry continually about Ben’s loneliness and that he was OK. Before long he started to make friends. Now, age 47, he has many friends and a happy life.