My friends had parents working in medicine, engineering, real estate and that owned their own businesses. I grew up in a trailer and my single mom was bar-tending late hours at a hotel. I had a modest socioeconomic upbringing. My real dad rarely contributed financially and he pursued alcoholism, so unfortunately he was not a great role model for a developing teen that was trying to make good decisions in life. I was a sophomore in high school when I moved from the trailer to my first house. My family upgraded our living quarters at a point in my life when I started to realize the wealth disparity between students at my high school. My mom had since married my step-dad and he had a good job at a cardboard paper factory. He paid the bills. He made the rules. I regularly had to unload the dishwasher, sweep the floor, vacuum, do my laundry and scrub the bathroom. My step-dad made me change the water pump in my 1987 Chevy Caprice Classic aka "the boat" and it took me 5 hours. I hated it.
I had the feeling that most of my friends had it easier than me (whether they did, I have learned by now, is not for me to say). One responsibility that I recall was having to babysit my then toddler half sister on Friday nights. I vividly remember missing out on some experimental drinking sessions, particularly this one night when a buddy's parents were out of town. That night, everyone played pool, listened to music and drank some beers. One of my friends was convinced that he turned into an alien, hid in a coat closet and got pickles thrown at him. I missed out and I was mad, but now I get it.
I did not understand my step-dad's perspective on work ethic as I had my own ideas of entitlement to a working car, clothes on my back and a roof over my head. As a teenager in America I had these false ideas of entitlement despite learning early in my childhood that in life we as humans are, for the most part, entitled to nothing. We are animals. We are forced to be fit as individuals and fit as a race if we want to survive. Now I appreciate the responsible behaviors and strong work-ethic of my mom and my step-dad. Now I appreciate the hard work that can save this country from a terrible political environment, huge amounts of national debt and a floundering leadership pool. Now I can look at countries across the world that have no manufacturing and have no service sector and be thankful that America is still economically competitive world-wide. People my age have a 40% unemployment rate in Spain and Greece. Do those emerging adults have entitlement embedded in their minds from better times in life? The Euro is weakening. I wonder why these emerging adults are frustrated, holding public rallies in Europe. Also, what sparks up these Middle Eastern rebellions? I wonder how the military and Islamic dictatorships make the oppressed youth and emerging adults feel in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria and Iran. Maybe I should turn on the news...
But enough about me...onto the blogging. -ABA