Friday, April 15, 2016

Children who grow up in poverty (#2632)

     I know this one. I didn't get to choose which family to be born into. Yet I seem to feel the shame of it when I had to put all my energy into getting things that other more well off kids got for nothing from their parents. One example is the ten speed bike I worked to get during the summer between school and how I had to sell it just before school started to pay for some new school clothes. Little things like that. To keep from being embarrassed from always having to wear hand me down clothes and shoes. I remember many times my lunch sack had but a meager sandwich and an orange, from the tree in the backyard. How that made me feel sitting there with others who had full lunch sacks and snickered at mine.
     Each year after summer break our teachers would have us tell stories about our summer vacation and how it pained me not to have an exciting trip somewhere cool to discuss. We stayed home since there were many of us kids and not enough money for anything frivolous. It wasn't all bleak but the bleak far outweighed the better. Never having much of anything nice became a factor in how I related to others. Of course I was excluded from those who had more, they seemed to congregate quickly through the social ordering schools inevitably create. So my attitude became lesser of a happy go lucky guy with an earnest will to learn, to a not happy guy with less will to learn. School and it's discriminators make that happen very easily. At that young age peer pressure is enormous.
     No child should have to feel embarrassed because of the family they are born into. No child should have to feel ashamed that they have holes in their clothes or can't participate in some desired school activity because they cannot afford the ancillary items needed to participate. I remember the one time I went out for the school football team. I needed a pair of football cleats but no one in my family could afford to help me. Finally a generous neighbor gave me his old cleats. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to participate. I don't mind humbling myself now when I cannot attain that which is needed but as a child it was hard and put an undesired dent in my psyche.

No comments: