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On weekends, she led all four of her complaining children in a deep clean of our house and yard.My mother was constantly in motion, always doing something that needed to get done, yet never catching up.Respecting impoverished people and their work ethic, and listening to their voices when it comes to understanding what's broken in our economy — that's how we will help people like my mom.
My mother was not perfect — she got angry a lot, and I that — but she was not lazy.
She worked full-time as a confinement officer at our local sheriff’s department. She shuttled me and my siblings back and forth to activities, doctor’s appointments, and visits with our friends and family all week.
I didn’t know what I should write on them, but I knew it should be important, something that I would be able to look back on as an adult to help guide me. When I was 11, I kept a box full of moments, a written record of all the times I thought my mom was being a bad mom for being poor.
That’s how I decided to start documenting my mother’s parenting failures. When I felt as if she treated me or my siblings unfairly I wrote it down. Didn’t get school pictures because we couldn’t afford them? I told myself I would keep these notecards my entire life, so when I eventually had to make decisions about how to be a good mom to my own children, I could avoid the worst possible scenarios.
And I would wager that most of them still believe a homeless or impoverished person just isn’t doing enough to help themselves.
A Virtual Phone Number Can Be Assigned - Growing Up Essay
I was one of those people, even if I was just a kid.Didn’t I watch her get up and go to her job every day? Yes, sometimes the heat was turned off, and things got broken and couldn’t be replaced. But judging the poor — or pretending that simple rules of logic apply to something often determined by blind luck — makes all of us less human.And while empathy won't solve the problem, it's a start.She also threw in an unopened stack of white notecards.The box and the notecards represented possibility to me. There are few things you ever get the chance to be in charge of as a kid, and being poor only makes this more true.I could get good grades and ace every test, but the kid whose parents had a color printer would always win the Young Author contest.“If you’re poor, it means your family doesn’t work hard.If your parents worked harder, then you wouldn’t be on free lunch.”We were children, and I assume he did not hear the cruelty in his words.They sat around card tables playing spades, sharing cheap liquor, laughing, and talking about their next plan for getting the hell out. My mother was poor and imperfect, but she wasn’t poor because she was imperfect. Here’s what I understand now that I didn't as that gifted kid on free lunch: Most people fear poverty, and if they don't, they're just being foolish.They took pride in the work they did, though they were never paid enough for that work. I could not prove she was a hard worker by showing you something we owned, but I could tell you about hearing her sob after she had to ask me to forgo Christmas presents so my siblings could have something on the holiday morning. It only took a month before I threw away all of the notecards about my mother. I couldn’t prove it by paying for my own lunch, but I knew she worked hard. It is exhausting and unpleasant, and if you're like me, you need to control things because that fear is truly terrifying.