If the world rewarded people based on what they accomplished relative to what they were given to start with, the world’s riches might be distributed quite differently.
I heard a story today that brought that to the top of my mind.
I only listened to the radio today because I needed something playing in the background while I did some boring tasks. The program turned out to be about five teenagers who had made voice recordings of their experiences at age 16; it focused on what they say about their lives now, 16 years later. I admit that when Melissa’s story came up, the story of a girl who got pregnant at 16, I wasn’t expecting much. But I was wrong and I invite you to listen to it: I think it’s well worth the 20 minutes of your time.
I think you’ll be surprised to find yourself uplifted by a story that, based on just its facts, could have been rather depressing. Each stage of her life involved adversities that raise the degree of difficulty of everything. But when you listen to her story, instead of getting a sad mental burden to carry around, you meet a young woman who has strengths (from where?) that surprise you. How much she might have done with just a few luckier breaks in life! But that is not the point. The point is that she is doing just fine, and after listening to this story you are convinced that she always will. Not only does she have the motivation and perseverance needed but she seems to know how to be happy regardless of her income level.
Don’t expect a fairy tale ending. There is no boardroom or limousine in Melissa’s life. But they are not missed. She has great wealth of other kinds.
Click here to listen to Melissa’s recording. I don’t want to say too much so that you hear it without pre-conceptions. Don’t miss the camp story at the end; it is essential and will explain the title of this post.
Do you know an admirable low-income mother whose story should be told? Send it in or contact us.
Note: This recording is part of the Radiodiaries.org body of work. Per their website:
‘Since 1996, Radio Diaries has been giving people tape recorders and working with them to report on their own lives and histories. We’ve collaborated with teenagers and octogenarians, prisoners and prison guards, bra saleswomen and lighthouse keepers….and along the way we’ve helped pioneer a new form of citizen journalism. Radio Diaries has won every major award in broadcast journalism and produced some of the most memorable documentaries ever heard on public radio.”