Thursday, December 30, 2010


Someone I barely knew from my graduating social work class told me of his trip to India, and how he witnessed children, half-naked on the streets, who were just so happy, smiley, and giddy playing around in puddles of oil. Yet, American children are so dissatisfied with everything - even brand new toys - and have an insatiable want for more in quest of finding an evanescent happiness.

I haven't thought about that statement in a while, and maybe it's because I've been reading a Buddhism book, or maybe it's because I now have my own child, that I am reminded of all the new and shiny things we buy for her. Is all that materialism necessary? It's hard not to want things, especially if the Joneses have it. And in our society, success is measured by quantity, not quality, and it's also hard not to fall prey into that materialistic way of thinking (I want, I want, I want!) Still, you have to admit, after getting what you wanted, it's never enough, is it? There's always something else that you want and there remains a deep and unsatisfied hollow within us.

How shall we fill that emptiness? With love? With hope? With peace? With spirituality? With God? And no one knows the answer to that question better than yourself. But the problem is, what if you don't know? We can't all become Buddhist monks and abandon our families and material possessions. What shall you do in the meantime? Continue our search? For what? I don't have the answers to these questions, and I'm sorry to put you through this mental gymnastics, blog-readers, I'm only following one of Buddha's eightfold paths.


Jeff & Cat said...

Deep thoughts, Nattie. Especially coming after my first Christmas as a totally indulgent mom to a now-completely-with-it (in the Santa respect) preschooler who just got a brand new kid kitchen from the man in red. I was already feeling mixed about my full leap into holiday consumerism. Sigh.

Mama Wanton said...

I'm going to play devil's advocate here. Sure, those kids in India are happy, and possibly happy with what they have, but it doesn't mean they wouldn't be happier with better food and toys.

My little tot has more than he needs, but I am certain that he is as happy as those kids in India, if not more so.

We shouldn't feel guilty for having more, as long as we strive to be good people and good parents.