Convention of Statesmen


Circumstances of Childhood Do Not Dictate Your Future

There's been a lot of talk lately of circumstances of life dictating one's future. I’m not saying its completely wrong, but I do largely disagree with the premise.

I grew up in abject poverty. There’s simply no other way to say it. We were really poor. We moved so often I ended up going to 23 different elementary schools (and that’s if I kept track properly.) Home to our family of seven was anywhere from a three bedroom home, to a single wide trailer. Clothes, those that we had, were purchased at second hand stores. Food, it was never fancy but it was good, even if it was only elbow macaroni in milk and pepper.

My mother, once she figured out how things were going to be with my biological dad, started making sure most of our moves ended us up where we could have chickens, goats and a garden. When she managed that, we had food. Good food that my mother produced herself. She gathered eggs, milked the goats, planted-tended-and-harvested the garden. Every fall, we had a huge family canning session that lasted weeks. But the food was available all through the winter. Rugs were made of old socks braided together and sewn in a circle. Quilts were made of clothes worn completely through. All my mother needed was a needle and thread, and she made use of everything we had. To make sure we could always fend for ourselves, she made sure that we learned to do all these things too.

But through it all, I never heard my mother mention the word “poor” or complain about our circumstances. She taught us to read and write before we entered kindergarten, thereby giving us a huge leg up in school. She took us to the library every single Saturday, no matter how far out it was (and sometimes it was 20 miles.) If we went to a rare movie, it was a matinee or drive in. She found an old ancient piano and music filled our humble home. She taught us to sing, dance, and play the piano. She read to us every single night, first from whatever wonderful book she was reading, and then the scriptures. We began and ended each day with family prayer, never failing to do this.

We went to school, to church, and to activities provided by the church and schools. Dances, activities, tubing (both of the snow and river variety,) plays, musicals, dance festivals, there was no end to the amazing entertainment which we enjoyed and participated in as well. We played, we dreamed, and we worked. We definitely weren’t rich or even moderately well off. But our lives were full of love, literature, song, and dance and our lives were based on the foundational core of Jesus Christ.

My mother made certain that we understood that while money was important, more important were the familial bonds, self-education, enjoying the beauty of the world around us, and taking advantage of opportunities, were what would make us rich, not money. Most of all, she taught us to hold to values and traditions she’d taught us, for that would guide us through life. What I’m trying to say is simply this, being born into poverty doesn’t mean your life will be a failure or you won’t make a difference. It doesn’t mean that you won’t eventually be wealthy or middle income. What it does mean, is you have a wealth of experience upon which to build a meaningful, successful life.

And that future of yours? That, my friends, depends entirely on you.

Copyright 2012. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Circumstances of Childhood Do Not Dictate Your Future Circumstances of Childhood Do Not Dictate Your Future Reviewed by Candace Salima on Tuesday, February 05, 2013 Rating: 5