June 07, 2012

read this! {while i fold my laundry.}

my professor {husband} sent me a link to this article.
it is inspiring.  i'm so glad that i read it instead of folding my laundry...

you should read it too...
i hope this girl really makes it!  


Sandra Butcher said...

I had seen this in different places. It IS inspiring, no doubt, and I also hope she makes it. But I am sad at the fact that the system is so broken that she ended up in that situation to begin with...she should not have had to wait til nearly 18 before people noticed her and helped her. Others, less determined/smart, fall through the cracks all the time.

jenifer said...

it isn't 'the system' that is broken. it is her family. it was 'the system' of caring school counselors and her own determination to work hard and rise above her circumstances that is giving her this opportunity. This is the beauty of America!! It is a place where a child without a home CAN work hard and achieve an ivy league education. I'd say that is a pretty great system. {and, because i'm feeling brave here on my blog comments, i will add that HISTORY SHOWS when we try to create a more socialist system there is LESS OPPORTUNITY for all people.} in America, people CAN rise above the class system that they were born into. that is great.

Sandra Butcher said...

of course some people can rise above the class system, and it is great that she has survived it...but people knew those kids were living without water, that they were severely neglected by their parents, went to school without having had a bath for weeks, weren't eating properly...the adults and yes, 'the system' ignored their needs, or turned away...the school basically had to break the law to not report their parents were gone...one kid gets to Harvard...how many others are already on the streets by this point...there must be a safety net...I think you probably agree with that, but you prefer it to come through a church rather than the state, but you still prefer a safety net, no? these kids had no safety net it seems

jenifer said...

Hmmm. Safety net? I don't know. These days cps is driving me crazy!!! (generally not personally) They have way too much power. I'm not sure I'm willing to give government the responsibility or ability to judge if my child is clean enough. Yes, this girl had a sad life. But, she (and her brother) was able to maintain good grades and start a non-profit organization. Her parents and grandmother were all involved in her life- albeit not to the extent they should have been.

I am very hesitant to think that more laws will raise the standard of living. My honest and admittedly optimistic opinion is that education is the greatest game changer. Both an academic and a moral education are essential to help people pull themselves out of the slums. To me, this story illustrates a very successful system of teaching. A young girl was taught to be clean and work hard and hopefully avoid the same pitfalls that her parents encountered.

First, this is her parents responsibility. Second, her school or comminity. Yes, that includes neighbors or church friends. Government? Yes, i suppose the government is designed to help childen suceed. People work better than policy. We are all our brother's keeper.

Sandra Butcher said...

If a parent pours boiling water over a kid, breaks bones, cuts them - you would agree the law should protect these kids, I assume. Severe neglect at an early age can have some of the same effects. Someone with authority to do so needs to protect these kids. When I say "they system is broken" I mean that the programs in place are not working - I think we also agree on that.

I couldn't agree more about education. My first job out of college was as a family worker for the Head Start Program (designed to give at risk kids an educational 'head start')- I had a caseload of 68 families, all of whom had to have multiple problems in the home in order for their kids to be considered for the program. It was sad and eye opening and humbling. Most parents did want better for their kids. This is an example of one way "the State" can help in a positive way. "The state" is "the village" and absolutely has a role--not the only role--but a role.

But there also are parents out there who don't know, don't care, and some never will. What about those kids?

jenifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jenifer said...

really, i agree with you.
it is sad that the girl had a hard life.
i guess i just don't think i agree with your idea of how big or how powerful government should be.
(perhaps an unfair assumption on my part)
in my village, i hope the VILLAGERS have more power than the village mayor.
even if that means some kids fall through the cracks.
i don't mean this to sound heartless.

yes, this is a tragedy. i just see "love your neighbor" as the answer, NOT "make neglect illegal, take away parents rights, government is responsible."

government CAN NOT fix this problem.
they can take away one child and then another will be born.
they can feed children and create a society of hungry people waiting to be fed.

this young girl is BETTER off because of the past that she has had to CLIMB out of. (again, does that sound heartless of me? i really believe this. i don't think she would have gotten into harvard without such a hard story. i don't think she would be as effective an advocate for other children if she didn't have such a hard past... her trials will be a blessing in her life. i think she was born into that family because God knew she could climb out and change things... again, is this just me being naive, idealistic and overly religious?) i love that she is turning away monetary donations. her education will mean more to her because of the CLIMB.

in America, the climb is POSSIBLE and good. take away the hills and you get a LOT of people who are weaker not stronger.

Yes, CPS has a place. Of course they do... i'm just not sure where you draw the line on government control. I'm afraid my line is MUCH smaller than yours might be? i don't know.

Sandra Butcher said...

I do believe we agree on 99% of this - but it is interesting to discuss. And yes, you are, I think, making some assumptions about where I stand on these things, and in this format it is impossible to go very deep into it. That said...

There must be a way to put in place a compassionate system to protect these kids and to nurture their families. You have blogged about the tremendous support network you have via your church. Not everyone has this network. For those who don't, where do they go? We know people who have suffered from the knock-on effects of this cycle, people who need care and counseling and who cannot get it. I believe that our taxes are better spent on providing access to education, to healthcare (including proper psychiatric counseling), to childcare so people can actually afford to go to work, than in (for example) spending an estimated 30 billion per year on a useless and dangerous nuclear arsenal. It doesn't mean govt needs to be bigger. We need to provide a safe space for our most vulnerable to break the cycles they are born into. No doubt these systems need to be revised. In my view, in the USA where there is separation of church and state, the answer cannot be to NOT have social programs available from the government at various levels. The villagers elect the mayor, the mayor is accountable. Democratic systems in our country provide accountability (much more so than, for example, in most religious structures).

And, I am going to add very cynically, Harvard is not stupid, they too are big business - look at the PR they have received from this gesture. I went to a top university as a scholarship student. The social pressures on this girl will be immense. Not sure the spotlight has helped her there. I wish her well.

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