Thursday, September 20, 2012

Collective sacrifice and Knowledge

How many of you, reading this were thrown out at birth and raised by wolves?  Go ahead, raise your hands...:::waiting, waiting, waiting:::: :::chirp, chirp chirp::: Crickets? I'm surprised, since it has become a popular mantra lately to say, "I am a self-made man, nobody helped me get where I am".

I own a home, a car, a good selection of clothes and a similar selection of other material items you'd see in any other middle class home.  I have worked very hard to get where I am. I work two jobs and often three jobs in a given year to maintain a modest lifestyle. Yet, I would never be arrogant enough to say I have all that I have because I did this all on my own.

I grew up very poor...I was not encouraged to go to college. I babysat to earn money from the time I was 10 years old and worked on the farms at age 11 and in fast food at age 15.  I worked very hard to put myself through college to get two college degrees, yet, I didn't get it all on my own.

My parent's paid for my food and shelter while I lived at home. When I moved out at age 17, they had an open door policy that allowed my to move back home during the summer months that helped me to live at home free of charge so I could save my money to pay for tuition, books and living expenses when I went back to college.  One year, I had to get a government grant to get by.  My brother helped me get a job and he even bought tires for my vehicle when I needed them for transportation.

I had two mentors while I finished college who encouraged me, helped me decide on a major and encouraged me to stay in school when I discovered I was pregnant and didn't think I could finish when I was throwing up everyday, all day long.

My children work very hard to put themselves through college. Yet, they have been very advantaged, also.  We gave them the opportunity to travel around the world, we put money aside in education funds, we encouraged them to think critically and encouraged them to continue their education.

Even families who don't have all these advantages, still have food, shelter and public education afforded to them.  Often there is a teacher, a friend, a neighbor who reaches out and encourages them to be their very best.

We all have what we have because of the sacrifices our ancestors made before us.

No one has ever made it on their own.  We all have the benefits of the collective sacrifices and knowledge of those who came before us.

Let's show some humility and gratitude to this.