Estela and I recently went to play at our nearby park which Estela likes to refer to as hers. The park was not very busy as we arrived pretty early in the afternoon and the sun was still shining bright. We played a bit on the monkey bars, moved on to the tire swing and had spent over a half hour on the teeter-totters when a group of young boys showed up to play soccer.
The group was from the neighborhood. A bunch of somewhat unkempt young boys, with dirty clothes. Estela noticed that many of them were shoeless as they walked by us on their journey to the cement soccer field. I noticed that the young ones seemed to have not brought a ball along to play. As we continued on to the swings one of them approached me and very respectfully asked me if he could have a Córdoba (which is equivalent to about 4 cents.) I dug into my pocket and pulled out my change and placed a Córdoba into his hand and received a smile and thank you. The young boy went running out of the park with the Córdoba in hand.
Estela was still swinging when the young boy came joyfully running at full speed back into the park. He was carrying a small bottle of cheap soda (Big Cola for those of you who know). My first thought was, really, I gave him the money he needed to buy a soda? Estela’s eyes widened as if to say, hey, where can I get a bottle of soda from? The boy ran onto the court and was soon joined by his group of friends. They passed the bottle around and quickly drank all of its contents which made me feel a little better about the small donation.
The game then commenced, the emptied bottle filling in as the ball. This series of events made me think about so many things about my childhood, how I hope to raise Estela and the differences between the various cultures that Cassie and I have had the opportunity to live in. I wondered if I would have ever been satisfied playing soccer with an empty pop bottle? I wondered if Estela would be able to find joy in such a thing? I think she would now as she is amazed by the smallest things, but what about in the future? I thought about the ways in which young ones here are often (due to necessity) able to find joy in the small things of life.
I have no answers to my questions now. I feel a deep sense of joy as I think about those who have less and yet seem to experience so much joy. I hope that Cassie and I can work to make that joy an evident part of our daughter’s life as we seek to instill the goodness of the little things in life and take joy in those precious moments.