The other day my son and I were playing our last game of Sorry before it was time to get ready for school. We had already played several games that morning. When the game was over he begged for another. “No,” I said. “It’s time to get ready. If we have time when we’re dressed then maybe we can play one more.”
This did not please the young five-year-old, who started complaining how this heretofore lovely morning was “the worst day in the universe.” Something about this comment struck me, and I proceeded to give Dylan a little lesson about what life is like for countless kids around the world. He actually listened intently to what I had to say.
So many kids, I told him:
Don’t have homes.
Don’t have enough food and frequently go hungry.
Don’t have toys.
Don’t have clothes.
Don’t have beds.
Don’t have the opportunity to go to school and learn.
Don’t know how to read.
Don’t have parents to take care of them.
Don’t have any money.
Don’t have any future job opportunities, to which Dylan asked, “Why don’t they get on a plane and go to a country where they can get a job.”
Don’t even have clean water to drink, to which Dylan replied, “Well, at least they have water.” “Yes,” I said, “but the water is so dirty that sometimes they get very sick from it.”
Certainly this list is but a fraction of what it could be. So many children don’t have access to basic medical care, don’t consume enough calories to grow properly (so different from here, where childhood obesity is actually an epidemic) and their very bleak existence isn’t likely to change.
Surely this holiday season, while we are all continually stuffing our faces with rich, tasty foods, we can spend a moment reflecting on how good we have it. Because no matter what, if we’re living here, we’re already luckier than about 99 percent of the world.
Here’s wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and safe holiday weekend.
Laurie Robin Rosenthal