I’ve had a lot of opportunities for growth in the past year that I’ve been away from WordPress. One of the things I’ve learned is to question my automatic response to things. You know the one. That first thought that goes through your mind when you see, or hear, or experience something. That first feeling hidden inside that creates that automatic thought.
Well it happened today as I’m scrolling through my ever increasingly boring Facebook feed and come along a post about welfare. Oh we all know the post… it goes a little something like this
Of course, I don’t fully agree with this statement. The implied insulting stereotype is rampant in today’s world. Honestly, I think it’s an awfully ugly thing to teach a child.
What’s Americans big beef with welfare recipients anyway? They are not taking anything from you that the government would not be taking from you any way.
I was a welfare child. Back in the day when we had those colorful paper food stamps that you ripped out of a book.
I was too young to notice the ugly stares from the people in the grocery store line behind us. Too young to feel the hate behind the ugly whispers.
But I’m not too young anymore… and it’s moved far beyond our grocery store check out lines.
My mom was a single mother of three little girls. When my sisters were 5 and 3 our mothers brave divorce to her extremely abusive husband was finalized. Six weeks later I was born. We were free!
Free from a life of being sexually molested. Free from a life of indescribable violence. Free from a life of fear. Of hate. Of belittlement.
Or so she thought…
Do you know the hourly cost of daycare for three children? Do you know the price of rent for a child friendly environment? Do you know the cost of diapers, wipes, vehicle maintenance, electric, heat, clothes, shoes for a family of four?
Do you know the despair in a single mothers heart when she sees her weekly minimum wage paycheck?
I didn’t get many toys as a child. I didn’t get Christmas’s where there were more presents than I could count. I didn’t get summer camps, and extracurricular activities, and fancy vacations. I didn’t even get tv’s, nice cars, beer, tattoos, or Iphones like the clever little meme above promises.
I can remember as a child times when Mom didn’t eat, because if she had there wouldn’t have been enough for us girls. I can remember when mom nearly died of a kidney infection because she was too busy working ungodly hours at a dead end job that she didn’t have time to see a doctor. I can remember the real picture of what welfare looks like.
My childhood wasn’t filled with “stuff”. It was filled with hope, and love, and trust, and strength, and hard work, and perseverance… and welfare.
That’s what my welfare childhood looked like. That’s what YOUR “hard earned money” helped to contribute to.
I just can’t understand the heart of someone that would have a problem with that. That would be angry that their tax dollars go towards helping a family survive. Tax dollars that one would be naive to believe would not still be taken from their check even if welfare didn’t exist.
My mother didn’t chose to be beaten unmercifully every night when her husband came home from work drunk, again. My mother didn’t chose to be handed the life she was, but she took that life and she gave everything she could to her daughters. And you know what else, her paycheck paid those same welfare taxes that yours does…
Sure, there’s some that take advantage of the system. There’s some, that quite frankly, won’t get off their ass to save their life… but I don’t believe that those are the majority. I also don’t believe that the world is as greedy and ignorant as the social media stance on welfare seems to imply.
But what do I know?