There was a Frontline episode on PBS the other night about child poverty in America. One of the stats they showed was that said nearly half the kids in America with a single mom live in poverty (which is amazing). They had a number of other eye opening facts about hunger and poverty in our country:
- In 2011, roughly 1 in 5 children are living in poverty
- In 2011, the federal government spending on children fell from $450 Billion to $445 Billion (with a ‘B’)
- Only 3 other countries in the developed world have a higher child poverty rate
It’s pretty mind blowing to think of our country being the world power, but having such a hard time with child poverty. The federal government is spending billions on children, and God knows there’s hundreds of fund raising efforts led by celebrities, neighborhoods, non-profit organizations, churches and businesses. But why is child poverty still such a huge problem??
When I was a little kid, that was us. I was one of those kids with a single mom living in poverty.
After my parents split up, my Mom had nothing but her street smarts and tenacity to keep us going. From the time I was three until the age of nine we lived week to week, paycheck to paycheck. My Mom worked two jobs, and we received government assistance.
I remember my Mom going hungry so my brother and I could have a meal. There were times she’d gnaw on the left over pork chop bone after we ate the meat. When I was seven, my Mom bought me a bike for my birthday before she bought herself a car to get to her jobs.
I guess that’s one of the reasons the roles have reversed and I’m now taking care of her. Her good years are gone—now at age 65 she’s barely walking and battling Multiple Sclerosis.
Watching this episode brought back a lot of memories when it was just my Mom, my brother and I. Almost half the people who are below the poverty level as children, remain under the poverty level the rest of their life.
I’m thankful to be in the other half of that statistic. To this day I still try to have humility and be humble for the good fortune that comes my way because I know I could’ve very easily been struggling somewhere out there like so many other people are.
This Thanksgiving, and pretty much every day of my life I’m thankful for the life I have and for my Mom protecting us and sacrificing everything she had to keep us going. Things could’ve turned out very differently.