My husband, Anthony, works at a high school. I think he has a gift with teenagers and works very well with them. Some of the kids he works with have been dealt a pretty rough hand in their short lives. Their home lives are unpleasant and unstable. I don't know these kids myself, but I feel for them and it always saddens me to think of what their future holds with the lives they have.
I actually try not to think about it too much because it makes me really sad, but I know that despite their circumstances, their futures are not yet written. Who and what they become is influenced by their parents and environment, but it is in no way the deciding factor. The deciding factor is the individual themselves.
I know this because I have been fortunate enough to have known many people in my life who have overcome tough circumstance and become wonderful people. One is my Grandma.
My Grandma had a tough life from the get go. Her mother left her and her sisters at a very young age to be raised by relatives. She was often moved around from one relative to the next and never really shown love and security like a child should. She became timid and nervous because she was always worried about putting a foot out of line and being moved again.
At the young age of 14, after what would have been a very tough childhood, she left school and moved out by herself and worked full-time at a factory. I find this so hard to fathom. At the age of 14 I was probably still spending all my pocket money on Hubba Bubba.
Years later, she met my Grandpa (who lost his mother at a very young age) and they were just perfect for each other. Both were so loving and gave the other the devotion they deserved.
My Grandma didn't know the type of home that a child needs to develop with confidence and hope. I have no doubt there wasn't much kindness and affection given to her. But despite this, she is a gentle, kind, affectionate woman. There is never any doubt in my mind how my Grandma feels about me, she showed me all the time.
We loved going to Grandma and Grandpa's house because when we got there there was a table with all our favourite foods all laid out for us. I think they got a brief kiss and hug 'hello' before we set up camp at the table and didn't leave til we were bursting. Then we would flop on the couch to watch "Inspector Gadget", "The Boy Who Could Fly", "Milo and Otis", "Project X", or "The Wizard of Oz". Grandma only see's the best in others and she never has a bad word to say about anyone else. She just has a reverence about her that I love.
Now that I am an adult, I can see that there was a choice that my Grandma made. She could become a certain way BECAUSE of her circumstance, and this would have not been ideal, but been understandable. But instead she decided to become a certain way IN SPITE of her circumstance - to become better. I love this. I love that the situation she was subject to did not define who she became.
Sometimes we are in bad circumstances because of our own poor choices, but other times they are thrust upon us. I don't think its entirely possible to come out of such a circumstance unchanged. We have to change to get through it. But what is undecided is how it changes us.
My Grandma is an amazing Grandma and a beautiful woman, but more than that she is an example of a quiet strength to not let circumstance define you, but to hope for and become something better. Love you Grandma xxxx