Today, in one of my classes, we talked about low income families in Canada. My prof went on to give examples of the behaviors of low income children. Low income kids don’t have winter boots, participate in the breakfast program, don’t have pizza on pizza day, can’t buy scholastic s books, don’t have brand name clothes, etc. It was interesting because a lot of what she said was exactly right.
When I was a kid, we lived in a low income household. We got a lot of our clothes from value village and the salvation army. We also got a lot of handy down clothes from relatives. We walked to school every day. We ate breakfast at home rarely, at our aunts house sometimes and attended our schools breakfast club on occasion.
The one that really hit me though was the scholastic s one. It was this program where kids who were doing exceptionally well would get books as gifts sometimes and other kids could just order books. We couldn’t afford to order books but I always hoped I’d get one as a gift. I did well in school, I had good attendance, I had good behavior. My brother, who was less than all that, won a few books over time whereas I never won a single one.
I suppose today I realized that I was never the only kid sitting there hoping for a book or the last muffin at breakfast. There were always dozens of kids around me when would have loved to get it and who probably did win a book or 2 over the years. I can’t really be mad that I never won one because, for all I know, it meant someone else got the chance to.
I was fortunate to have relatives who gave me a lot of clothes and school supplies and who took care of me and my brothers but I am sure there were children in that school who didn’t have that luxury. The students who wore the same 3 shirts over and over again. The students who always “forgot” their lunches. I was better off than them.
I couldn’t see it when I was a kid because all that mattered to me was my family and my problems but now, looking back, I hope other low income kids won those books.