The Simple Things


At the end of the sidewalk in a sandbox overgrown with weeds sits David. Surrounded in simple toys, he plays alone while his mother hangs the laundry out to dry. With a smile on his face he is very satisfied digging in the sand, bouncing his little red ball, and playing with his homemade rag doll.

   David  digging in the sand outside his home

The simplicity and innocence of this scene is what caught and held my attention as I walked through one South Phoenix neighborhood today. As I watched this particular scene unfold it occurred to me that the age old adage “money can’t buy happiness” was true.  This family did not have the little extras that society deems “must haves”, but they were indeed content. 

I found this young Hispanic boy playing in his front yard to be a subtle reminder of the differences in class, economically speaking.  There is a tremendous disparity between the types of recreational activities that upper-middle class children would be able to engage in as opposed to lower class children. A child growing up in an affluent home is exposed to “high-dollar entertainment” at a young age, especially now. More children are glued to Play stations, and Game boys than ever. They grow up believing they should always have to be entertained.  The child that grows up in poorer circumstances typically learns how to entertain himself/herself.  This is because the family cannot afford high-priced items or events.       

I believe that the mother’s presence outside indicates her love and protection of her child, two deeply rooted family values.  Of all the times she could have hung laundry, she chose to do it when her son wanted to play.  In a society where the family is rapidly disintegrating it is refreshing to find parents who still care for and protect their children.  Her values regarding the family are revealed by her simple presence outside. This mother is a prime example of, as photographer Camilo Jose Vergara put it, “people who come to the United States with little in the way of material possessions, but who nonetheless manage to piece together a powerful culture." It really is the simple things that count!

 by KaMaili Jones


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