Less and More

Laurie - Frankfort, Kentucky
Entered on February 4, 2010
Themes: children
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I believe in less. I believe in less, even when the world around me believes that more is better: more things, more space in houses, more conveniences, more entertainment. I believe in less, even as America, in my lifetime, has consumed a greater and greater proportion of the earth’s natural resources. I believe in what the earth has to tell us, that we have, right here, what we need, and that needing more endangers us all.

In 1962, I met a beautiful, Andean child who had less. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer, and she, Cecelia, became one of my friends. She was tiny for twelve, but her spirit was large. She sang, rhapsodically, for me to follow her. Her choza (hut) was one room with a thatch roof and dirt floor. She and her large family had no beds but Cecelia beckoned me over to a small mat. Her wafer-thin hand held mine and the force field of her eyes was so compelling; you could anchor yourself there in complete contentment. That child, of rich skin and exquisite features had no mirror—no idea how aesthetically electric her image was. Her glow, her happiness was in the treasure she was about to share with me. She pulled it out. It was a rag, tied up by its frayed corners. Her hands trembled slightly as she undid the knot. Then she smiled at her treasure: a bottle cap, a piece of glass, a realito (a coin worth a tiny fraction of a penny) and a piece of a broken chain that looked like it was made of tin.

I believe in children, in their goodness, their songs. I believe we need less infatuation with consuming and conforming and more time spent with our true treasures: our children.

Cecelia was ecstatic with something most North American children would throw away, happier than some U.S. kids would be in a candy store in the middle of Disneyland, with pockets full of money.

I believe in less…in fewer inanimate objects for our children and more and more and more love and attention and respect.