A recent article in the Abilene paper discussed the problem of homeless children in the district, which is a growing concern in America. Two of the definitions for “homeless” were “sharing a bedroom” and “not having a place to study.” When did society determine it was a “right” to have a private bedroom?
I grew up in a dysfunctional home: a mom and a dad who were married to each other before the birth of their two children and were still married to each other. A rarity in today’s society, it seems. It was dysfunctional in other ways, too. I shared a room with my sister (and in those days we didn’t have twin beds or bunk beds), studied at the dining room table amid the family noise and bustle, and managed to make A’s and a few B’s in high school
Unlike most Americas, I’ve spent time overseas in a third world country, oops, “developing nation.” I’ve seen homeless children and the Abilene paper’s definition doesn’t cover them. I’ve seen a country filled with children living in a two-room or one room home, sleeping in the same bed with their parents. Those children work hard in school; they are motivated to succeed, and their grades are not determined by their home life. I’ve also seen “homeless” children roaming those same streets; they are the ones who don’t attend school, who haven’t enough to eat and no place to sleep.
Perhaps Americans are too quick to play the blame game and assume there is an easy solution to everything. Perhaps we are too indulgent, well-fed, well-cared for, so that we have forgotten that the amount of what we have doesn’t necessarily determine the value of what we have. Success is not determined by circumstance, rather it is determined by internal fortitude. A quick review of history supports this in the life stories of countless entrepreneurs, scientists, inventors, and statesmen who would be deemed “homeless” by the Abilene paper’s standards, yet became success through sheer hard work and determination, not in spite of their circumstances, but because of them and the desire to have a better life.