In a previous post I mentioned some of the responses from students at our school after seeing pictures of students in Haiti. One brave student spoke the words that were probably on many minds, “They are sad because they don’t have any stuff like we have.” We had to take a minute to look back through the photos to see if the children in Haiti looked sad. We decided they did not!
I am happy to report that the old phrase, “Money can’t buy happiness” is after all, true! I think we all question that saying from time to time, as we smile over our new shoes and clean furniture. Sure, we don’t need a room full of stuffed animals to be happy, but buying a cold ice cream on a hot day, does create a certain amount of satisfaction, does it not?
As I visited school after school of children learning without pencils and paper, without text books, and even without a pair of matching shoes, I noticed one overriding feeling in the classroom; JOY! These kids were happy kids. They had almost nothing that they needed and yet, they could sing and dance the day away. Without any stuff involved, there was happiness.
My few short days in Haiti filled me with happiness as I looked into the eyes of the children and saw a desire to learn, create, and grow. All that I saw made me ask myself, “What about stuff?” Why do we need our things and our shoes and our furniture so desperately that we would choose to care about things more than people? Are our own collections and trinkets more important than dreams? Do we really need a closet full of clothes so much that we can’t part with some of it in order to change a life for the better?
While the kids of Haiti and I danced the Hokey Pokey, we all learned a little bit more about where happiness comes from.