blog, book, children, Christmas, contentment, disparity, downsize, g;pbal disparity, grateful, Hope, hope and disparity, James Molligan, materialism, my house, photo=journalist, photography, research, what matters most, where children sleep
Tonight I will soak my feet in a tub of warm water as I watch my colored TV and sip a warm cup of imported tea. I will relax peacefully in my comfortable home while thinking about holiday decorations, the lines of shoppers at the mall and the money I spent on Christmas gifts, spa time for my toes and nails, and yes, my jewelry party bling.
The house I live in has about triple the space than what I really need. The payments are much higher than I really can afford. I could easily downsize my furniture and could get rid of more than half of my clothes and shoes and still have more than most.
I don’t think of myself as materialistic but in many ways I am. I can easily become a hoarder. Shopping might be my worst addiction.
The one thing I learned from a house fire, several trips to disaster zones and time spent in Haiti is that none of it really matters. We can stock pile stuff or live comfortably when we have barely enough–we can’t take it with us when we leave this earth and the things that matter most in life can never be lost or stolen or destroyed by a storm or any other disaster.
Christmas is the time of year when we go in debt or get depressed or feel insecure based on how much we have, how much we give or how much we receive. We too suddenly lose focus on what really matters and the hope and joy that the season is supposed to bring. If I give you a tin container filled with homemade peppermint bark is that any less of a gift than spending what I can’t afford on something you really don’t need. Christmas should not be about proving our love with our pocketbooks; it shouldn’t be about out-doing someone else; its about love and happiness–not materialism or greed.
On Christmas Day we will scrape more than enough food off our plates into the trash than what it might take to feed a village in some other part of the world. And that bag of socks or ugly sweater you don’t appreciate–why those gifts could keep someone down at the homeless shelter warm all winter.
I am always in awe when photo-journalists do their job really well and give me something important to think about. That was the case when I stumbled upon Where Children Sleep, an eye-opening project by photographer James Mollison.
Mollison’s amazing report takes a look at children from all across the globe and the diverse environments they go to sleep in. The series presents a portrait of each child or adolescent accompanied by a shot of their bedrooms. While some have a bounty of possessions and a lavish bed to rest their head on at night, the images reveal that some are not as fortunate. At times, though, it can be difficult to even refer to the space they sleep in as a bedroom as there is no actual bed. In the case of Bilal, a 6-year-old Bedouin shepherd boy, the young boy is left to sleep “outdoors with his father’s herd of goats.” Alternatively, 4-year-old Kaya in Tokyo is adorned in frilly dresses that her mother spends $1,000 on every month, which is reflected in the abundance of toys and luxury items that fill her room.
The series is currently available as a photo essay and fine art book that offers a variety of lifestyles, as seen through the portraits of children and their bedrooms. I stumbled on it a couple of weeks ago and the images still haunt my mind.
Take a look for yourself , , , I promise it will make you rethink what matters most and maybe you will even re-adjust your Christmas shopping list.