My grandfather was one of 16 children.
He grew up with one pair of shoes, and when those wore out, he couldn’t afford to buy new ones because he had to give all of the money he made to his parents to support the family.
He was a 12 year old boy then, and the year was 1944.
Two of his siblings died before they could reach 5 years old. One from fever, and the other from drinking un-pasteurized milk.
Our generation doesn’t have to worry about things like this. Survival is so much easier for us. As a matter of fact, most of us don’t even think about it. Even the poorest of Americans live with running water, electricity, etc….
My grandfather left his hometown and came to New Britain, Connecticut in the 1950s, in search of a job in a factory when he was the same age I am now. My grandmother soon followed him there.
He was supporting a wife and family at my age, and I am unable to support even myself.
When I think of my grandparent’s generation, I think of a people who were industrious and self-reliant.
They lived by their word and meant it. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?
I wonder what people will think of our generation – we’re rather spoiled aren’t we? I cannot help but feel that there is a lot of cynicism in regards to the world we live in. As much as everyone has a tendency to complain, I can’t feel sorry for most of the people in our generation that do so. We are clothed , sheltered and have access to the resources of a nationally accredited institution.
I always think about how lucky I am to be here, at a university where I am privileged enough to have an education that was inaccessible to the generations that came before me.
When I hear myself complain about something, there is a disconnect.
I really have nothing to complain about in my life. NOTHING.
My grandfather owned one pair of shoes. One pair.
I have over 20.
I am using this as an analogy for resources. I have 20x more the opportunity than my grandparents, just based off of this one example.
We have unlimited opportunities, and most of us have not had to struggle in any fraction that my grandparents did.
So that leaves me to wonder; What exactly is our generation going to live by?
Are we going to make the most out of our opportunities, give thanks for what we’ve been privileged enough to receive in our lives and actually do something for the greater good?
I am sure as hell going to try.
I wasn’t put on this earth to be selfish, to take and take without giving anything back. I am deeply rooted in the people that came before me, who worked their fingers to the bone and scraped together what little they had to provide for me and a brighter future.
I would not only forsake myself in not living up to the best of my abilities, I would forsake them.
So, I ask everyone who reads this to do something, to do whatever it is that they do best, and to do it for those that came before you and those around you, because you are a reflection of those that came before. You are the result of years of struggle and sacrifice, of history .
So go make some history.
Good luck on finals everyone.