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Reply #56: Poor kids ALREADY labor. The rich ones are the ones who need to learn about hard work. [View All]

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Lyric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 08:35 AM
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56. Poor kids ALREADY labor. The rich ones are the ones who need to learn about hard work.
Edited on Mon Dec-05-11 08:37 AM by Lyric
When I was growing up, I busted my ass in school and then I came home and cleaned the house, did laundry, helped my younger siblings with their homework, and cooked dinner. I was sent out to collect aluminum cans so my alcoholic father would have beer money. I babysat. I starting working on the bathroom cleaning crew at the local college football stadium when I was 14, and spent 4 hours cleaning up the most disgusting messes I've ever seen for a measly $15 a night. I did yard work. I shoveled snow. I hauled firewood, washed cars, and cleaned up the house of our elderly neighbor at least twice a week.

I was the child of a Vietnam vet with PTSD who could no longer function and a mother who worked two minimum wage jobs, so she was never home. Dad was pretty much useless; he usually passed out drunk on the living room floor by 6 pm. I was left to either do all the housework and parenting, or let the whole house fall apart. This started when I was nine.

If someone had thrown in yet ANOTHER job--scrubbing toilets and floors at school in order to earn my education and develop the "work ethic" that I SUPPOSEDLY "didn't have"--I'd have probably just jumped off a bridge in despair. I was exhausted and miserable just doing all the work that it takes to care for my home, two younger siblings, and to earn a little extra cash to help out Mom and keep Dad from drinking away her paychecks. I can't think of a single other poor kid from our neighborhood who wasn't suffering some variation of the same. And when I was 17, I dropped out of high school and started working full-time at a poultry processing factory on the night shift. Mom had had a series of heart attacks in short succession; SOMEONE had to pay the bills while she spent 2 years recovering.

Maybe some of the kids of the middle and upper classes have a shitty work ethic--I honestly don't know. I've never known any of them well enough to know that kind of detail. But poor kids are the LAST ones who need yet another burden heaped on their shoulders. They work to SURVIVE. The whole idea that poor kids don't have a "work ethic" is both insulting and ludicrous. Poor kids are much more likely to come from homes where there's only one parent, or (like mine) substance abuse issues. Those situations nearly always mean that the kids involved don't get to be "kids" for very long. They have to pick up the slack when the grownups either can't, or won't.

If you guys want to subject YOUR kids to manual labor in order to develop a "work ethic", be my guest. But leave the poor kids out. Their work ethic is just fine, thanks.

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