By: Cameron Saunders
I had never seen such enthusiasm, such animalism over crayons!
I tried to contain the chaos by placing the box high above my head and asking the children to sit back down.
As some of the children went back to their seats feeling satisfied with their handful or crayons, I noticed how the other kids longed for their turn to pick their lot.
Over the next few minutes as the children began to color, some kids guarded their stash from the neighboring crayon thieves while others simply took a crayon to the box and milled through the selection for a long time until they exchanged it for its perfect replacement.
“Blue or red?” I imagine they were thinking as they chose the color that most satisfied them for whatever reason. Could it be their mood, or the most attractive color, or the more appropriate color for their piece of art?
Regardless, I think what most excited each kid was the act of choosing. I watched their elated faces as they exchanged color after color. I envied their smiles of pure happiness as they guarded their selections and their smiles of personal achievement after winning the battle over the broken crayon found on the floor.
Now that I'm home from Ethiopia, I think back to the crayon boxes in my own living room and the assumption that I can have whatever color I want. I think about how the choice of which crayon color for these kids means more to them than the choices I’m faced with everyday.
I wonder, do I take the same care in deciding what color crayon I want or do I feel as satisfied after a decision is made? For many of these kids, their choices begin and end with the crayon box. Some have no choice but to sleep where there is a space, to eat what’s found or given; they have no choice but to survive.
How many choices do you make daily? What to wear; what to eat for breakfast; how to get to work; what school to send your child.
Consider how you choose . . . What looks the best; what tastes the best; what’s efficient; what’s right or wrong. Our choices say a lot about us, but do we really appreciate the choices we have?
When was the last time you felt true joy after you made a decision?
When was the last time you chose the perfect crayon?