Last night we had the really cool opportunity of doing some volunteer kid time at a local women’s and children’s home. We did some art projects with them, played with them and otherwise just chatted with them about things.
It has been ten years since I worked in a children’s home, and nineteen years since I’d grown up in one. It’s funny how the day to day monotony of life glosses over those memories.
Regardless of where they are, or who is there with them, at the end of every day these kids are just kids.
They love and want to be loved.
They play and want friends to play with.
It was really bittersweet for me.
Only one of my kids never lived in a place like that, and it is no surprise that she is the most entitled and ungrateful of my kids. I know that sounds harsh, and I am not (by any means) belittling her or the hard beginnings she had before coming to us… Mostly, my criticism is of me.
Living in a place like that, whether you are there with your mom or not, isn’t easy.
It is isolating, can be embarrassing, it challenges your worth and causes (usually) some degree of damage. While this can be made better, or worse, depending on other factors (like staff, degree of life outside of the group home, etc) this is just a reality.
My perspective was shaped by my six years growing up in a home. My perspective was further shaped by my 5 years collectively working with three different Children’s home facilities and later, coming to love my two older kids (who had spent middle and high school in one of those homes).
I expect Genny to not take for granted. I expect her to be grateful for things and opportunities. I expect things that I don’t even know how to summarize in words, from her- that I feel, or that my two older kids possess…
But from the age of 4-13 she has led a privileged life. She’s had her own room, and her own things, and a loving family, and family traditions…
And suddenly I realized, she isn’t the one who’s got it wrong. Her entitlement and lack of gratitude might be less of those, and more of comfort and stability. She has a gift that we didn’t have, and when it’s all said and done- that “second nature” is not something she should be punished for.
Even if I can’t relate…