Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Gifts of Adversity

I grew up in adverse circumstances - my parents were not well off, they divorced when I was young. For most of my childhood we were poor. My father struggled, went back to school and earned a diploma - I was 9 at the time of his graduation. My mother struggled, went back to school and earned a degree - I was 15 at the time of her graduation. There were new partners, remarriage and redivorce. We moved. Money was tight even when things were better in my late childhood. There was no money for post-secondary, although it was clearly expressed how important training beyond high school was. I put myself through university and graduate school. Despite such adversity, what mattered was always there - we were loved and supported in the ways that mattered most - and my childhood homes were free of abuse and neglect. We had what mattered.

There were gifts of growing up in such adversity - insights into who I am and the world around me, that I might not otherwise have. And while, I want my children to gain many of the same life lessons and insights, I do not want them to know the same struggles - I want life for them to be a bit better yet again. I know I am in a better position than my parents were, and for that I am very thankful, however, I still hope that my children will find themselves in an even better position and will be thankful for the privileges they have and would hope that they'd hope for better for their own children.

There will and have been gifts from my current struggles, I know this, and I am thankful for them. However, I do not want to squander the opportunities that my experience might yield - for doing so is to let the anger and hurt overwhelm, to do so is to let others suffer when they do not need to. I do not want my daughter to know the same struggles, nor to have the same experience. I want better for her - I know better is possible.

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