Our Spring Break this year was really different. We didn’t visit Cancun. We didn’t spend our time washing our windows or doing other spring cleaning tasks. Our family of four moved into our yucky, dirty garage for the week.
We did it to try to experience a tiny bit of what it would be like to live below the worldwide poverty line...where people live on less than $1.50 a day per adult for food. We modeled our living situation after places my husband had visited in Central America in college. All four of us slept in the same bed, we ate rice and beans each meal, we cooked outside, and we walked anywhere we had to go. We each had two sets of clothes and we didn’t have any toys for the girls besides little sticks and rocks we found outside.
We spent some time blogging about our experiences. Mid-week, we had to come sleep inside one evening because the temperatures dipped into the 30’s. Here’s what happened in our house that evening when we ‘re-entered’ our regular living situation:
“Two nights ago we came inside our (regular) house and out of our garage house for a little while. Of course, our girls practically jumped on all their toys and started playing, playing, playing.
But it wasn't long before Bethany had a little doll in her hand that Ava wanted.
And Ava asked her if she could have the doll. And Bethany said 'No.'
I told Ava to go look for other toys that she could play with instead. Her response to me was: "I don't want any other toy. I don't really like any of the toys in this house except that doll."
Well, you can imagine how I, being tired and cold and deprived of regular middle-class comforts, would respond to such a comment.
I said, "Well, then, Ava, maybe I should just PUT ALL YOUR TOYS AWAY THEN. Maybe you shouldn't have ANY TOYS AT ALL if you don't like them," in a rather rude voice. But I was just so mad that 10 minutes inside our house could SO EASILY make her forget what we had been living outside and cause her to say something so entitled and ungrateful. I was upset.
The moment passed and she found some other toys after asking me to please not put her toys away.
I didn't really feel so good about our encounter, so later on, after I had cooled down, I brought her into my lap and I told her that it was really sad for me to hear her say that she didn't like any of the thousands of toys we have in our house. I told her it made me sad because we had been living outside in the garage with NO toys and SO MANY kids in the world have so much less than we do. We have 5 dollhouses and a Dora dollhouse and a hamper full of stuffed animals and crayons and sparkly markers and SO MUCH. And yet she thinks it's not enough because there is one thing she doesn't have.
Then I told her that Mommy is the same way. I have SO MANY clothes. A closet full. A closet STUFFED full. And I so often decide that I don't like ANY of my clothes and I must have new ones. I think that I have to have MORE because I don't have ENOUGH.
And that is really, really sad.
I told her we would work on it together, being happy with all the wonderful things that God has given us. That we would work on accepting that we have ENOUGH.”
Read more about our experiences at www.SoMuchHope.com/sow