We recently observed this young boy playing marbles, on a manhole cover, on the streets of his medina in Yemen. At a very early age, he learned to make do with what is available in his environment.
The down side of the privilege that has permeated the first world is that you rarely see kids playing simple games like marbles, hop scotch or jump rope anymore. Video games like Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation are more likely to attract the attention of kids in the developed world these days.
These pursuits have not only affected the health of “advantaged” kids, due to less physical activity, but it has inhibited their ability to figure out how to make do with little. This basic human trait of survivability is learned at a very early age by kids who don’t have much choice but to make do with what is available.
These skills, learned early in life, put the “disadvantaged” at an advantage over those who are being raised insulated from life’s realities. Sustainability is a term that we hear being tossed around in marketing jargon these days but the reality of being able to sustain and thrive, despite limited resources, are skills that are learned early on by those that many consider to be “disadvantaged”.
This puts into question the belief that those who much is given are at an advantage over those that are able to thrive with less.