Daughter's (Ninth) Birthday Reflections

I've hustled for as long as I can remember. Not in the illegal crime sense--but was known to run a con and boost a car or few in my youth--but in the sense that all of my life has been a bare knuckled brawl against poverty. My hustle was the freelance gig. Whether picking up magazine jobs, bouncing, creative/marketing consulting, I have always had something that allowed me to put a little extra gold in the coffers. In my later years, I've kept just a handful of straight 9-5ers. I moved from social services, to tech, back to social services, to part time educator, to now being in education administration full time--with a slight dash of teaching night classes on the side. But I don't think I want this for my daughter.

I do want her to have a supernaturally strong work ethic, but I don't want her every move to be influenced by a fear of poverty. The other day, I had to admit that growing up poor traumatized me. Not being able to attend certain field trips because my mom couldn't afford them. Being homeless during one of the coldest winters on record at that time. Sleeping in a basement and being bit by a rat. That stuff still haunts me and shapes how I move through the world. It also causes me to see see poverty as a person whose ass I can whup. My daughter doesn't deserve this weight.

While my wife and I are in no way rich, we do very well for ourselves. We may teeter on the edge of "spoiling" our daughter every once in a while, but we also strive to instill in her the ability to appreciate what she gets. More importantly, we are working to teach her how to give and serve. I want her to escape my cycle of poverty consciousness and live a forward focused life, instead of copying my backwards focused, poverty as demon chasing me existence.