Today was the first day back in school for my kids . . . Jenna into Grade 7 and Ben into Grade 11. And, I'm a little bummed. Not about them going to school, but because I wasn't able to play a very active role in it with them this year. Partly because they are getting older, and partly because of living outside with self-imposed parameters on me. Actually, I've got a lot of thoughts and ideas swirling in my head . . . a school daze, you might say.
My first thoughts were of my kids, and how proud I am of them being able to do more things for themselves. As you would expect of a 12 year old, Jenna is able to get herself completely ready, lunch packed, and off to the bus stop. While it is good she doesn't need our help as much anymore, I always liked walking her into school on the first day and getting her to where she needed to go. And, Ben . . . well he not only gets himself ready but can now drive himself (and his buddies) to school. All of that said, I did miss being part of the preparation this morning.
I imagine that there are homeless people on the streets, or in refugee camps, or otherwise separated from their families who are especially missing their kids on days when they see other kids or pass a school. As for me, I think it would eat me alive . If I didn't suffer from poor mental health alreI think that being away from my kids would drive me into depression or cause me to lose my hold on reality. That's just a lot to deal with in addition to having to work to simply survive each day.
Of course, there are many poor kids in other parts of the world who wish they could go to school, but their families just cannot afford it. These families need their kids to work in the fields or do vital chores, and education is often a luxury beyond their grasp. Unfortunately, this also perpetuates the poverty cycle as education is one of the greatest catalysts to improving one's standard of living. Fortunately, there are organizations like CAUSE Canada (www.causekids.ca) that have programs to get kids into school in places like Sierra Leone, West Africa where it can be a considerable challenge for families.
And, for poor kids in Canada and other countries where education is universal, going back to school can be very stressful if your family doesn't have enough to eat. Once again, thankfully, there are organizations that work to fill this gap and provide lunches to kids with none. Shockingly, last school year Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids (www.brownbaggingit.org) provided over 600,000 lunches to kids in need in one of the most affluent cities in North America. This food not only nourishes the body, but allows the kids to learn better.
Okay . . . I'm not as bummed any more. I am so blessed that my kids can go to school and have enough to eat. Now, we just need to keep doing what we're doing (and perhaps a little bit more) to make sure kids everywhere in the world are just as blessed.
By the way, if you haven't already done so, check out the new video I posted from my interview with The Mustard Seed ("Panhandlers, Street People & The Mustard Seed").
Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.
Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU.