You are not a product of your upbringing.


That subject line, was a lie. Sorry. 

I’m a realist. Let me start this entry off by stating just that. I am a realist.

If you tell me you’re going to be a Princess and marry Prince William, pre-Kate Middleton, OK FINE- or the other red headed one if you’re into that kind of thing, then I’m going to tell you you’re nuts and that chances are it isn’t going to happen. I’m the wrong person to blow sunshine and butterflies up your skirt.  I’m going to “keep it real” and tell you exactly what I think.

Most people don’t want that friend, most people want the friend that is going to sit next to them and pat them on the back and say “You can be anything you want to be! You go, Girl!”. Pass me over in your contacts list when you are looking for that friend.

However, if you are looking for realistic advice on “I know this is feasible, it’s going to be HARD, but I just need to figure out how to DO it…” then I’m your chick. I’ll give you all of the options I know about, hell, I’ll even do some research on it for you in my own time!

When we grow up in poverty, we are conditioned to believe that this is the only option for us. There are ACTUAL studies that show there are long term physiological responses inside your brain and even in your adrenal glands from growing up in poor countries or impoverished situations.

Compared to well-off kids, poor children tend to go to ill-equipped and ill-taught schools, have fewer educational resources at home, eat low-nutrition food, and have less access to health care.

How amazing is that? While I will admit that there does seem to be a slight difference over time’s past (which DOES appear to be changing for the better as each generation gets further from the mentality of our founding fathers) where a person’s race limited them from obtaining those aspirations of no longer living in poverty— but for this arguments sake – let’s say you are a young white male/female living in rural America, in poverty, as our control.

You truly are a product of your upbringing… If you live in rural areas and stay there, you are many times more likely to live in poverty and remain living in poverty into your adult life.

Another awesome article.

[However], the rural child poverty rate remains higher than the urban rate (19 percent versus 15 percent). In 2000, 2.7 million rural children (under 18) were poor, representing 34 percent of the rural poverty population.

So what is a person in rural America to do if they are not afforded that same access to community schools and public transportation? They are forced to move out of rural America or live in poverty which in turns moves jobs and business out of rural America continuing the poverty cycle for those who remain. How can they afford vehicles in rural America if they can’t find jobs? How can they get to fair wage positions if they can’t get to said jobs via public transportation? Jobs pay less in rural America. Jobs have a higher competition in rural America.  Throw in a single mother situation in rural America and you are even MORE likely to remain in poverty.

If a person is told their entire life that they can’t/don’t/won’t have access to something that could make them financially stable – they believe it, live it and become it. Yeah, sure there will be some Type A personalities that will say “I’m not going to settle for this” and storm out of their hometowns in search of financial freedom, but the majority won’t.

As parents we all want what is best for our children. But do all parents truly know what is BEST? Sure, every parent could be like “The best thing for you to do is go to school to be a politician and become the President!”………. but is that reality? No. How do we know what is best in these uncertain times?

I grew up in a semi-urban area that is outside of a major metropolitan city and I would say that even though I grew up in lower class America, I felt like those opportunities were still available to me even though nobody stood behind me and pushed me to do…well, anything. I was pushed to “Not get pregnant out of wedlock and be a teen mother”. I was pushed to “not do drugs”…but that “coaching” sold me short.  My motivation was solely this: I had a child who I refused to raise in said poverty and in turn become a product of her upbringing. That refusal to conform motivated me to get out there and do something – even though I knew I wasn’t going to become a brain surgeon without severe family sacrifice, financial ruin and immense debt, which wasn’t worth it to me to risk my stability to chase after a dream that isn’t part of my ‘realist’ approach – I chose something that still fit within my desired aspirations and that would provide for myself and my family without relying on a spouse. (Let’s face it, it’s a two income family world.)

The economy is bad, it’s getting worse so we must advise our children accordingly now.

  1. Get an education – a good one – at all costs – because the job market is going to kick your ass and spit you out. (I’ve learned this lesson the backwards way.)
  2. Plan for the worst financially. Don’t ever get caught with your pants down. (Guilty!…and it sucks, luckily nothing catastrophic so far!)
  3. There are options, some may be harder to find – but you have to look. You have to seek them out, they won’t come to you. Choose the best that fits your lifestyle and wants/likes, even if it’s harder than hell, within your reach.
  4. Get advice from a career counselor on areas that you might excel in and choose from those the one you are most passionate about that is within your means.
  5. (last but not least) Don’t ever settle for somebody else’s limitations. They are not your limitations, they were theirs. Not yours. If the best they could do was working at McDonalds – you are not also limited to that and it isn’t the best advice to take just because that is where they currently sit.
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