How Parents Tell Their Children About Poverty (or Don’t)

Or try to at least: “We lived with friends and family, moving along as we strained our welcome until we were finally able to move into a house of our own. It was the worst house yet. Barely livable. It was a house that had been moved from a neighborhood that was being torn down and my dad worked to renovate it when he wasn’t at work in exchange for very discounted rent. This whole time food was a struggle and I guess that was never a secret, but it wasn’t exactly discussed either. In the same way you don’t talk about the fact that your mom called you from work to tell you to fill the bathtub up because they’re going to turn the water off. Or the way you don’t mention that you picked up the phone and there’s no dial tone again. The same way you don’t ask your mom for money for that field trip because you know we don’t have it. You just tell your teacher you forgot the permission slip and stay behind. The same way you wear shoes even after you’ve outgrown them because you know your Dad is going to skip lunch to pay for new ones. Believe me. You know. It breaks your heart. It breaks your heart because it breaks your parents a little everyday. I remember walking into the kitchen as they sat at the table with a pile of bills we couldn’t pay. My mom had been crying and my Dad had his head in his hands. This was over 20 years ago and there is a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach remembering the look on my father’s face.”

Image from this HuffPo story.