Tuesday, April 2, 2013


as in Possessions...

we. are. coming. to. take. over. your. home. 

The theme of my vacation this Spring (which sadly is coming to a close today) was SIMPLIFY. 

(Lily decided that her theme for the week was NO SLEEP,  but anyway...)

I came across this great collection of photos: Children From Around the World Photographed with Their Toys  It's a fascinating look at what children play with around the world: and brings up both the universality of childhood and the gross disparities between the "First World" and the "Third World". 

Our children have lived in both worlds.  They've played in a small home in rural Ethiopia. Daniel says his favorite game was to go hide under and climb in the banana trees. If Daniel had been photographed with his toys while he was living with his first family I'm not sure if he would have been able to find anything to show off but a patched-up soccer ball. 

They've shared the small supply of toys in an orphanage. I'll never forget bringing a box of markers for the children at the care center. I opened the box and each child took one marker.  They didn't fight over the colors, they didn't trade, they didn't try to find the pink or the blue ones. They just picked one and clutched it for the rest of the visit. 

Now my kids live a thoroughly American life. Daniel saves his allowance to buy bey blades. They create elaborately detailed Christmas and birthday wish lists. We are constantly running out of batteries for all the cars and musical instruments and things that beep and bop and blurt. I try to keep the plastic junk toys contained for my own sanity, but for them there are never enough toys. I resist reminding my son, when he complains about not having the latest whatever,  that in his former life he didn't have any toys at all and he was still happy.  (Sometimes I have to resist pointing that out pretty hard.)   Bringing up his previous deprivation is not a great teaching tool for him. 

However, we are trying to get closer to a simpler life. We are trying to keep our possessions from possessing us. I read this article this week about living with less.  One of the fascinating statistics the author quotes is that researchers found that women's stress hormones spike when they are dealing with (I assume: cleaning, repairing, locating, sorting, organizing, stepping on in the middle of the night) their belongings.

So we all get stressed out by our stuff. I'm so glad it's not just me!

Here is to simplicity! I'm not quite ready to go live in rural Ethiopia... but if my kids were ever photographed with all their toys, I'd want them to be visible in the frame.  

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