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In this generation we are quick to jump to conclusions based on only stereotypes. Mainly because people only see the negative side of so many topics if it's not part of their daily lives. I take this topic to heart because according to the Kentucky poverty level, I fall below the line. I never hear, "That poor girl, she's going to get out of that situation one day." It's always something this, "That poor girl, she's never going to amount to anything in life." Growing up in a low-income family can also have positive effects on a person. For starters, at an early age you are taught to appreciate what you have. While you may appreciate what you have, it'll give a person ambition to strive and achieve goals set for themselves to get out of their situation, and this helps form a philanthropist. Other people may feel victimized by their uncontrollable birth into a poorer family, but I don't. Don't take advantage of what life gives you; instead you should appreciate it.
When you're younger you never really notice or even care how big your house is, you don't pay attention do the clothes brand you wear, and it doesn't matter how many presents are under your tree on Christmas. You're just happy to sleep in a warm bed, have pants that fit, shoes with soles, and paper to tear off a box. As you grow, no matter how hard your parents try to teach you to be grateful for what you have at the end of elementary school you become angry, and definitely jealous of other people who are more fortunate than you. You're angry at your parents because you think they have failed and you're only angry at them because you can't find anything else to be angry at. You have so much anger built up inside and you need somewhere to release it. You can't even explain your feelings why you are, and that's something that frustrates you even more. You're jealous of all the other kids who come back to school after summer break and talk about the beach, talk about New York, and all the other places they went over the summer. They show off all their new clothes, and brag about what they got to do and what they have. I remember being so embarrassed because I was wearing Walmart clothes, and I didn't think anything of it, but when someone asked where I bought them, and I told them Walmart they actually made fun of me. I didn't know that apparently Walmart clothes were just for "poor people." Then it hits you, not everybody lives the same way you do. Some people have more than your family, and some have less. When you're younger, around sixth grade, your parents will start complaining about bills around you. Now that you're older, and wanting more expensive materials, you're told no a lot more often. When you are told no, you slowly but surely begin to realize it's not the things you want that matter, it's the things you need: food, clothing, shelter, and education. Luxury items become simple household items you take for granted until you have to live without one, or multiple. For example, electricity: I imagine is not something an average kid, or teenager usually worries about. Somehow, almost like magic, it just continues to stay on year round. Kids won't hesitate to walk out of a room and leave the lights on, even though every second it's on it's a sky rocket, getting higher. What if one month, you can't afford it? Everything involving electricity gets cut off: heat or air conditioning, tv, home phone, lights. All the items we would agree are essential in a typical house, but yet are taken for granted. Hauser, an online writer knows first hand what that's like, "The day we actually got our electricity turned on and I got to watch a TV show again. Or call someone on the phone when we could eventually afford the deposit. Talk about appreciating the little things in life. Those are the incidents that are etched in my mind" (Hauser). Not being able to afford necessities isn't something I'm not used to. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but people make this embarrassing to talk about, Government help, I've had it. I try not to let anyone know this about me. My family has needed food stamps before; My family has needed an unemployment check before. When you look at me, you'd never think I've had to have that before, if you came to my house you wouldn't know this. Not everyone who needs government help is in a poor nasty house, with drug addict parents who won't look for a job. When I come to school, I hear so many kids making fun of people whom they don't even know: "Yeah, I hate Obama cause he makes me pay for lazy people who can't get out and go find a job." That isn't the case for everyone; many people get in a tough spot, and need help occasionally. Be thankful for what you have. You shouldn't have to have a mansion and lots of money to be happy. Be content with what you have. It'll be better for you in the long run.
Current research shows, "Two out of every three billionaires made their fortunes from scratch. Being rich as a kid means you are LESS likely to be a billionaire. That’s an amazing thought" (Brip Blap). The reason this is, is because kids who grow up with money usually have everything handed to them. Rich kids tend to be lazier, and don't know the value of a dollar, nor the value of education. Sliding through life carefree may be fun, but it teaches you nothing. It doesn't teach you how to set goals, or how to reach them. There's no lesson in life if it's handed to you; that's why I take such pride in my grades, mostly my English. I work for it; I don't do it for money at home either, I don't get rewarded. It's an expectation I set for myself. There's no point in setting the bar low--aim high. Getting the right grades now, and actually trying teaches you in more ways than just the lesson you're learning at the time. It teaches you to strive, it teaches you to push yourself farther, and it lets you feel pride. Knowing you reached the goal you set, then after you reach that goal once, you know you can again, then it becomes an expectation. Coming from the household I do, I know how important an education is. My dad never went to college, and barely made it through high school. My mom dropped out of college after two years. I have set a goal for myself to graduate college. Graduating college is my main goal. It's not because society makes it hard for people without a high school diploma, its not because I feel like I have to, it's because I want to. I have said all my life I will not live this way forever; I will be the one who makes it out of poverty. That alone should make anyone want to strive to reach this goal, to make something of themselves.
Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission states:
A child in Kentucky is born into poverty every 44 minutes. Kentucky ranks 46th out of the 51 states and Puerto Rico for the percent of children who are poor—23.5% of the children of the Commonwealth. In Northern Kentucky, nearly 17% of children and 23.5% (nearly 1 in 4) young children are in poor families. (Kentucky Youth Advocates; US Census; Children's Defense Fund)
I will not let my children be part of these statistics. The negative side effects most definitely outweigh the good, but that doesn't mean you have to give up. You are not a statistic, you are an individual who has a choice and opportunities, take advantage of those. Don't wait till it's too late.
A philanthropist is a person who practices philanthropy. Philanthropy is, "altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes" (dictionary.com). many celebrities donate money to good causes, just to give back. They have worked for what they have, but they aren't greedy with their money, they give to the less fortunate. A young, but generous celebrity is Madison Pettis. At age eleven she made an appearance on the Bonnie Hunt Show in 2009. While on the show she talks about different charity work she participates in. She was designer celebrity of the month in December 2009; half the proceeds of her jacket that she designed went to a charity of her choice, she chose the USO (United Service Organization.) She's also involved with trees for troops, which is a charity group that donates Christmas trees for military families in need. In 2009, they donated over 16,000 trees. Don't get me wrong, you don't have to be a celebrity, or even rich to be successful, or to be a philanthropist. Dolly Parton once said giving back has nothing to do with being rich. "'Funny thing is that the poorer people are, the more generous they seem to be,' Parton laughed. 'We were always helping people and people were always helping us. It also gave me the belief that all of the things we own and possess can be gone in an instant'" (Fox News). I personally know a man named Billy Lowery; he walks around my small town with dirty torn clothes, a Walmart buggy, no teeth, greasy oily hair, and not a penny to his name. But I can guarantee you he's more generous than half the upper class people in this town. He used to come to where my mom worked, and they would give him food and drinks for free sometimes, but he would always buy his cigarettes. One day I was in the store and at the time I was probably around seven or eight. He had a few quarters left over in change after his purchase and he gave them to me. When I refused to take them he told me, "Save them, they'll be more use to you than to me." This man doesn't even own a home, and was humble enough to give me his change. When I know people who wouldn't donate a dollar toward him if it meant saving his life. This absolutely sickens me. When I grow up, and finally graduate college, because I will, I will give back to my community. I'll feel like a superhero. I'll give back to my parents, and especially young children. I will know what it's like in their shoes, and I may perhaps buy them a pair. I would have loved if someone would have been kind enough to get me a pair when I was little.
I hate for people to think that everyone who grows up in a low income family like me, will grow up to be low lives, and criminals. I want other people to do as I do and not think that there's not a better life out there for everyone. If you appreciate what life gives you, and take advantage of the opportunities that arise from your situation, and set high goals for yourself, nothing can stop you. But once you get where you're going, and you reach your goal, don't forget who you are and where you came from. Give back not for others, but for yourself. Never be ashamed of what you've been through; it got you where you are today. Being poor is nothing to be ashamed about, self pity is. Don't let the overwhelming statistics devour you or your hopes. Break through, and become what you've always wanted. There's nothing in this world that can hold you back more than yourself.
Hauser, Jeffery. "When Growing Up Poor Can Be an Advantage." EzineArticles. N.p.,
18 Feb. 2006. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
IMDb. Dir. Bonnie Hunt. Perf. Madison Pettis, Bonnie Hunt. IMDb. IMDb.com, 17 Dec.
2009. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.
Murphy, Megan. "Dolly Parton Says Giving Back Has Nothing To Do With Being Rich."
Fox News. FOX News Network, 13 June 2011. Web. 05 May 2013.
"NEWSROOM." Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission. Northern Kentucky
Community Action Commission, 2010. Web. 05 May 2013.
"Philanthropy." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.
"Poor Kid Blues." Brip Blap. Steve, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.