Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Life Changing

I can't believe how long it has been since I have blogged. Life sure does get in the way sometimes and I have forgotten how much I love to write. I need to make it a point to do it more often, especially working on some projects that have been in the works for much too long. I'm still working at my job, though now I work with Kindergarten aged children. They are adorable and affectionate. It's hard not to love a job like that. In the course of my work though, I have learned so much. My entire attitude about so very many things has changed because of the experiences that I have gained. Those are the things I want to write about today - the realizations that truly are life changing. Two years ago, when I started at my job, I had no idea what poverty was. Let me be clear, of course it was an abstract idea in my head that I was vaguely aware of, but I had no idea. If you would have told me that there were children in the 4th grade that didn't own a single book, I would have laughed at you and told you that wasn't possible. Now I know that not only do those children exist, but often they don't even have enough to eat, or a bed to call their own. In the most affluent country in the world, there are children who live in apartments with 4 or 5 other families - where even closets - YES, CLOSETS - are rented out. I have seen children stuff food from the breakfast and lunch bins into their pockets and backpacks because they don't have enough to eat. I have seen them come to school in underwear because their crack addict mother couldn't be bothered to wash their uniforms. I have seen things that make my heart weep and I understand now just how very fortunate I am, and my children are. I used to be against illegal immigration. Then, I met a very special boy. He WALKED from El Salvador at four years old with his family to come here. He works hard in school every day to learn as much as he can to be an American. Yes he still loves the country of his origin but if you ask him, he would tell you that he doesn't want to go back. He is one of many at my school who could tell you the same story. After the Presidential election some of my 5th grade students were visibly relieved because they support the Dream Act - a chance to become real citizens of this country in spite of entering it illegally. Before this job, I never would have thought I would say this, but I support it too. I would rather have fellow citizens like this little boy who walked here to be free than those who sit on their collective asses and collect a welfare check. And finally, yesterday my youngest daughter who's 10 came home and told me about a new student in her school. This child is blind and paralyzed - a recent development caused by tumors in her brain. Imagine waking up one day and not being able to see. Something so basic that all of us take for granted And then, after losing your eye sight, you also lose the ability to walk. On top of this, the cause of this loss are tumors which could potentially mean that this child has a much bigger fight on her hands. I look at my beautiful, laughing little girl and I think of how VERY LUCKY I am. I pray for those parents who I have never met and their little girl, that somehow, a cure can be found. I can't imagine what this child's life must be like or the pain her parents must feel at how helpless they are. Then I sit here and wonder what I can do to really support those things that I believe in, how I can make a difference and help. I mean, sure i support St. Jude's every year, but honestly that is the easy thing to do. It's only money. It costs me nothing in time or emotional investment. I want to do something to really help families and children like the ones I have talked about here - something that will be as life changing as these realizations are. Now the question is just.... WHAT????


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