Many children start their lives in ‘rough situations’. Some have neglectful parents who don’t assist with any part of their lives. In contrast, others are practically smothered by parental involvement, unable to find their own identity. Some have divorced parents, live in poverty, or are exposed to drugs and alcohol. Children live in all kinds of conditions and are sometimes ‘set up for failure’ from the very start. But some children are able, despite their initial circumstances, to achieve great things in life. Some part of them drives them to succeed and, because of this, they learn the value of hard work and gain a stronger personal character than they might have developed otherwise.
Meghan started her life in a non-ideal way – with an unstable mother, an absent father, and a younger sister to take care of. She’d seen the inside of the hospital mental ward by the time she was four, and was put in charge of her mother’s medication during outpatient recovery before she was nine. Life was hard. Sometimes her family had no money. They moved around the city almost yearly. Replacement ‘father figures’ migrated through their home. Meghan was mature beyond her years by the time she was eleven, but she grew up too quickly, gaining habits that she was not able to handle. By fourteen she was smoking and by sixteen she was pregnant. Dropping out of school in the eleventh grade was a choice that did not bode well for her future life.
But things did not go as badly for Meghan as they could have. There were a few rough years, for sure, with a dangerous lack of sleep as well as daily burdens that threatened to break her. But a decision made one tired night stayed with her for the future. Meghan got herself out of her mother’s home and out on her own. Though young, this was the best decision she could make. She was freeing herself from a destructive cycle. Instead of applying to welfare programs, like her mother had, Meghan took a service job to support her small family. There wasn’t much money left after bills and diapers, but she managed to put some money away. It took patience and time, but eventually Meghan was able to register in night school courses.
She didn’t graduate as quickly as other people did, because Meghan had to divide her time and loyalties between her daughter and her own future. A balance had to be acquired, which people of a much older age sometimes lack. Meghan had a goal for the future, but she was careful about it. She learned to budget, plan, and wait. When she finally did complete her college courses, she was a certified technician, able to find a better job with benefits and a salary she could do well on.
Meghan’s story could have been a different one. Meghan could have looked at her circumstances and said, “It’s hopeless.” She could have lost patience and pursued an easier path. But Meghan did not. And I’ll bet her daughter, once grown, will thank her for it.