Sunday, May 09, 2010

there but for the grace of God...

I just finished The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls; it's her memoir of growing up poorer than poor and having survived. Resilience is a fascinating thing: how do some siblings survive, but not all? Why do some kids "make it" while others repeat history? Most importantly, what can I do to teach resiliency?

If I can answer that last question, not only would I be able to take my show on the road, but I'd also be able to help a kid or two along the way. More than conjugating verbs or solving quadratic equations, the ability to soldier on in the face of defeat is what makes someone successful. That is what I want to teach kids; to believe in themselves and to find a way to get where they're going, no matter the odds.

So as I sit here in my house with running water and heat and electricity, surrounded by creature comforts and filled with good food and unconditional love, know that I do appreciate it all. My life is incredible, and all I did to get it was to be born to people who also had it. Luckily, I'll never know if I could have survived a childhood of abject poverty or one of disheartening neglect. I do know I'll do the best I can with what I've been given, because to waste the gift would be just plain wrong.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Jeannette Walls' book was fascinating. I think it will remain one of those life-changing, or at least life-evaluating, books.

I think you're right - if you could teach resilience ... ;). Of course, one of the things that saved Jeanette was having a couple of teachers who believed she was more than her up-bringing, and I think that was the difference between her and her siblings.