I am going to get in trouble for writing this. I know it. I just ask for you to read this with an open mind and understanding. I don’t ask for you to agree with me. This is my truth- it doesn’t have to be your truth.
The most difficult thing about growing up has to be shifting ideologies and values. It hasn’t been by choice- I don’t think it’s ever a choice. It’s been through a slow, ever awakening of reality. It’s the fading of idyllic views and the birth of rational thought. Let’s get the record straight before I get going: This is coming from the view of a pot smoking, hippie socialist who tattooed imagine on her hip at 19 and wanted to save the world, end hunger and fight the epidemic we like to call poverty with one word: love. See? Absolutely no rationality.
Here I am, 25, and though I don’t know it all, I’ve learned something. I see the world from my eyes and that is what I can stand behind. This is what I see and I understand it is not the same as what you see. My husband and I bust our ass day in, day out to make a buck. He works 3 jobs and I work 2. We have bills, we pay them and we don’t complain about doing so. We know what it’s like to hate our jobs; to be utterly miserable and unhappy at work. So we’ve looked for new work. We push through. We prevail. And until we have a new means of a paycheck, we stick it out with little complaint. We aren’t quitters. We possess masters degrees from accredited, non-online (yes, I said it) universities. We have student loans from college that amass to some nasty debt. We aren’t asking for hand outs and we aren’t running from it. We also don’t complain about it 24-7. It’s our personal business, we got ourselves here with the choices we made (nobody held a gun to our head) and we will get ourselves out.
Furthermore, the number one reason it will be a few years before we have children is that we refuse to bring a child into this world until we can financially support it in a way that suits us. Let me explain: until we can afford to set aside a bank account called “college” and we can afford to consider selling our townhouse for a single-family home so that our children won’t play in a parking lot after school, we aren’t having kids.
We value responsibility and education. We value work ethic. If you were too lazy to finish high school, I’m not quite sure I want to be giving you my tax dollars for your welfare check. If you’ve found a way to convince the government you are disabled but you could work a cash register, I’d love some of that free money, as well. I’ve got a slew of “disabilities” I could hash out. Workplace hazards and a chronic bad neck that keeps me up at night.
We see poverty every day in our classrooms. It’s systemic and much deeper than government handouts. Show us how you can fix the system so that the handouts can stop. What about rehabilitation and training? Put these people to work- they are capable. And if not, maybe I should start working the system- start being irresponsible and knock out a couple of kids without a stable income. Well, I’m not going to do that because I’d feel terrible. Don’t they?
This is my point. I’m not a genius. I don’t have a solid answer. I do see it all around me, though. Alex and I use the term “welfare whore”. There’s no stereotype that you can fit them into (race, weight, accent). They are everywhere. And yes, we teach some of their children. But that’s what maddens me: when Newt Gingrich said that poor kids have no work ethic, I sympathized with him. Albeit, he’s crazy, I agree that you must teach work ethic. If you aren’t learning it at home, you’ve got to learn it somewhere. I pride myself in working at a school where we are teaching these kids work ethic and responsibility. Honestly, they need it.
But what about everyone else? There are no excuses for this type of behavior. I truly pride everyone out there who chooses to pick up whatever part time work they can instead of selling out to the system. Good for you. Clean up your own mess. Or, the mantra of my childhood, if it happened to you, it’s your fault.
*Filed under Personal Life*