Dreams of the Future

A couple days ago at the park I met a little girl, Kaitlyn, who was around eight years old. She was very chatty with me, explaining that she has a “vertical twin” (meaning fraternal) named Kaelyn (how’s that for some confusion?), that she drowned once and is afraid of the water, and that she hadn’t eaten breakfast yet – or anything else – at 3:30 in the afternoon. She was there with a bunch of other kids in assorted sizes – siblings and cousins – and one adult woman (her aunt?). She said someone had gone to the store to buy some food to bring to the park. As surprising and sad as her lack of food was, I was even more shocked by her proclaimed aspiration for the future. Kaitlyn asked me, “You know what I want to be when I grow up?” “What?” I asked. She answered confidently, “A single mom.” When I asked her why she wanted to be a single mom, she said “because moms are so good and they take care of everybody.” I tried to persuade her in a few minutes that it is far better to be a mom with a husband, that it’s very hard to be a single mom, and that she has plenty of time to find the right guy.

The encounter left me thinking… about our society, morality, and cultural differences between whites and blacks (or European and African Americans, if you prefer). Yes, little Kaitlyn was black, apparently being raised by a single mom who struggles to put food on the table (or in the park, as it were). One little boy with her, though, did manage somehow to have five or six silver teeth right in front (he’s off to a good start in life, eh?). Priorities?

Questions… have we, as a society, gone so far out of our way to eliminate the “shame” and stigma of having babies outside of marriage that single parenthood has actually become an ideal to some (wasn’t there a pregnancy pact at that MA school?)? What if by trying to “help” (ie – create acceptability), we have merely aggravated the situation and made life harder for the single parents, their kids, and future generations? If kids grow up in poverty partly because their parents didn’t wait to become responsible adults before bringing them into this world, and they in turn repeat the cycle, bringing more kids into the world in poverty, where will it all end? How will the cycle ever be broken? Obviously the government and welfare don’t fix people, or the problem would be fixed by now. Liberals love to talk about the poor, but their policies serve mostly to trap the poor in the cycle of poverty, while (oddly enough) securing their vote. What is the solution? I don’t know. Cultural re-education? I sense the solution must somehow come from within the community itself, but how can that happen? Strong leaders with vision will need to come forth to correct and inspire. Positive role models need to step up. Maybe schools could bring in inspirational / motivational speakers on a regular basis. Concerned adults could reach out to kids as mentors. Can we imagine a truly better world and the way to get there?

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