Impact a  Young Life This Year

Impact a Young Life This Year

  My daughter turned 16 this week, and I’m thinking about what I might say to you while sitting here covered in glitter.  I’m spray painting wooden letters and numbers that spell out “Sweet 16” to use as decorations.  While I am thinking about my daughter, I can’t quit reflecting on the life of another little girl I am reading about who grew up in Waynesville during the 1940’s and 1950’s.   Her life is what I described to my friend as ‘wretched.’ She survived a life of extreme poverty and abuse, and throughout the book she mentions the constant hunger her family felt.  She and her siblings were poorly clothed, and went to school with no shoes even in snow and ice.  They lived in one shack after another and on a daily basis; she battled famine, filth, bullying, addiction and abuse of every kind.  I read her story and can only try to imagine what it is to be that poor and live this type of life. I’ve heard adults say, “we were poor, but we didn’t know it,” usually in admiration for parents who sheltered them from those realities and worked hard to provide the basics.  This child knew she was poor, and though her father was an incredibly hard worker, his money was used to fuel his moonshine business and his addiction, rather than feed and clothe his children.  Neither of her parents was nurturing.  There were no hugs or expressions of love among family members.  We know that lack of nurturing is detrimental to a child’s growing brain. I know there are children in our...