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Privilege of knowledge

April 20th, 2016 at 09:46 pm

After volunteering this week for our monthly shelter birthday party, I realized something. That anyone reading this blog, with a computer, internet access, and time probably has time to spend with their kids. We're very privileged in so many ways.

On SA we have a variety of incomes from poverty to 1%. We also all share a mindset of living below ones means and valuing our time. We've also got the privilege of clipping coupons, grocery shopping in bulk, going to thrift store, and just spending time with our kids.

Anyway we were playing at game at the shelter using colors and shapes. I realized that more than a few kids didn't know all the colors and shapes we were using. If I had to guess these kids hadn't been privileged enough to be read to by their parents. Their parents were probably too busy trying to not be homeless and scraping by to find the time to go to a library and read to them. Or talk to them about their day.

It's funny the difference it makes when you have help even if you are from a very low economic background. I was extremely privileged to have one on one "babysitting/nanny". I mean I was read to, fed, taken to the park/beach/playground/library, grocery shopped, etc. I was given immense attention and my vocabulary was developed by the amount of time I was spent being talked to in both a foreign and english language.

The truth is that my grandmother now lives on $500/month SS and I think $150 pension from Greylines (my grandfather drove a tour bus). She gets medicare and medicaid because she qualifies for welfare medical coverage. She never owned a home, and lives a good life now because her kids provide her with extras. I would say lower middle class is generous, they lived for years without a toilet/bathroom in the house (thus she babysat at my uncle/mom's houses yeah indoor plumbing!)

Anyway I realized these people at the shelter don't have a hand to help them up. They don't have free childcare, or help at nights. They probably don't have a car or time to spend with their kids reading and just playing and teaching. Even without money some people can spend the time. But when you are struggling to pay the rent, put food on the table, and medical bills it seems impossible to do more.

I just had a deep appreciation for how lucky I am to spend time with my kids and teach them everything I received. It's possible my mom didn't make more than some people on welfare but we were so fortunate that our bills were so minimal and we were helped out a lot by our family.

5 Responses to “Privilege of knowledge”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Agree! Well said. I suppose another way to look at it is those parents are distracted with their own struggles, possibly even depressed.

  2. ceejay74 Says:

    This is so true. Last week I toured a nonprofit that helps people experiencing poverty, homelessness, criminal record, recovering from addictions, etc., learn coping skills for the workplace (and just for life). The director told me their research showed that the mental state is similar to being in a war zone -- focused on moment-to-moment survival, no space to properly recover from emotional and physical traumas, reacting vs. responding, always tensed for the next attack, etc. So people who judge the poor for not remembering or having time to read to their kids are speaking from the privilege of not living in a war zone, not understanding what it's like to be in the thick of it.

  3. LuckyRobin Says:

    LAL--Off topic, but I just remembered to go look at the private messages and sent you a reply. I never think about that section, but it's what I know about the beef prices and how to locate the beef and pork.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    Agree ceejay!

  5. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    They were even having classes on Saturdays which I volunteered to help teaching basic financial skills. What a checking account is, what a credit card, debt, how to budget. I mean things people would assume are taught by parents or basic skills. They aren't basic skills because people have no idea what to do.

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