Children of adversity – children of privilege

Denny has written an insightful post, Silver Spoon’s Bitter Aftertaste… which echoes some of the observations I made in Baby boomer children – what’s wrong.

Denny mentioned his post in an earlier comment on this site, but it bears mentioning again, because of its relevance. You should read it. There are so many lessons to be learned from these unfortunate children of wealth. Be sure you read the comments on his post also.

His post reminded me of a high school friend who always received a modest income from a trust fund. This friend was a charming and generous person, but had no incentive to go to college or prepare for any career. His needs had always been satisfied and he never had to work in order to have a car, or clothes, or running around money.

The last I heard from him, he had married a local girl and was running a small motel owned by her father. He was still happy and his trust fund was still easing him through life.

I was a child of the Depression and remember vividly the years of doing without anything except for the bare essentials. Hand-me-down clothes were a fact of life in many of the families we knew. We always had food, but the portions were small and we were told to fill up on bread.

My mother taught us all sorts of crafts including stenciling and photography, while my father showed us how to make things. He encouraged me to help him build an addition to our house which was located out in the forest on the furthest edge of town. My earliest memories are about carrying tools for him and following him through the woods, gathering mushrooms.

When I started going to school, I was shocked by the contrast in my life to the lives of some of my schoolmates. Our town, although small, was home to some of the weathiest families in the county. When I visited some friends in the first few years of school, I realized that I would not be inviting these children to my house often, if at all. Our tiny house and bare yard seemed to offer little to children of privilege with play houses and expensive toys by the score.

As a result, from my earliest childhood, I was determined to excel in school and get a job that would provide me with the niceties, as well as the necessities, of life. At the same time, I realized that my parents were giving us an appreciation of art, craftmanship, and manual skills that other children were not getting.

It seemed to me at the time, that it would have been far better if we had more money. Now after all these years, we seem to have had advantages the other kids didn’t.

This entry was posted in Breaking Away, Children of Privilege. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Children of adversity – children of privilege

  1. oldcatman says:

    this all reminds me of a great film: Stand By Me……..

  2. Denny says:

    David, thanks for the mention. I’ve always been a self-motivated, striving, learning person, but I’ve never been able to put my finger on who or what encouraged me in my youth to be that way. Now, ironically, this blog piece makes me wonder if growing up in a large family with modest means had something to do with it.

  3. Theresa says:

    Growing up without, you certainly learn to appreciate what you have, and what you earn.

  4. susan says:

    One thing that was instilled in my sisters and me growing up was a strong work ethic. My mother sewed all our clothes–beautiful things, and we felt special rather than feeling we couldn’t buy things, and we made our own clothes for many years afterwards. My dad, even with three girls, always had us working beside him indoors and out, and I can proudly fix things like irons, lamps, and now computers. I can rewire electrical outlets and work on small engines. We were taught to fix things, and the most frustrating thing these days is that most things, like sealed drills, etc. are not made to be fixed but are disposeable and meant to be replaced. I’m proud of both the sense of frugality and the values my folks gave me.

  5. Aurora says:

    Hi David,
    I agree. My dad was poor and he was driven
    by to emerge from that poverty
    and make sure that his kids (me) didn’t ever
    have to stuggle like him.
    While I was growing up, my family was middle middle class. My Dad never let me feel it and I never did till college.[reality Break!] But somehow I was determined to have a comfortable life style earlier in my life…with short cuts no doubt! đŸ™‚
    I appreciate how well my parents managed- though I am still learning.
    [Relatively I am OK ;-)]

    —–
    PING:
    TITLE: Gaining character by facing adversity
    URL: http://usurp.mu.nu/archives/024866.html
    IP: 64.91.238.2
    BLOG NAME: USURP
    DATE: 04/13/2004 09:26:59 PM
    Denny, a retired West Point educated Army officer, blogging at Book of Life has provided a selection of anecdotes, analysis, and scholarly quotes in pointing out the difficulties of building character without any adversity in one’s life. My description…
    —–
    PING:
    TITLE: Gaining character by facing adversity
    URL: http://usurp.mu.nu/archives/024865.html
    IP: 64.91.238.2
    BLOG NAME: USURP
    DATE: 04/13/2004 09:18:59 PM
    Denny, a retired Westpoint educated Army officer, blogging at Book of Life has provided a selection of anecdotes, analysis, and scholarly quotes in pointing out the difficulties of building character without any adversity in one’s life. My description …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

÷ 3 = one