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.

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