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Lots of enlightened, smarter than me folks barking on the news have reminded me that I’m “privileged”. So, I decided I might as well count my blessings and the special gifts my privilege has given me. Here’s what I have so far:
I am privileged to be born to teenagers who didn’t finish high school. I listened as they talked about money while inside our home but using their outside voices. I cried myself to sleep wondering what I did to cause their problems. In time, it taught me that better choices mean better outcomes.
I am privileged to have grown up in a mobile home in rural America. I was called “red neck” and “trailer trash”. It taught me to never allow an insecure person’s opinion of me to define who I am.
Only I am allowed to do that.
I am privileged to have been so broke, just walking past a bank would set off the alarm. I saw the fear in my wife’s eyes when we had no money, and no food for the baby. It taught me that no work and no job was beneath me. I spread pig manure, cut tobacco, put up hay, and drove a truck to pay the bills.
It also taught me that my struggle wasn’t because someone else was prosperous. It taught me that if it is to be, then it’s up to me.
I am privileged to have a high school guidance counselor tell me I was “not college material” and would never be accepted into a four year degree program. It taught me that if I accept other’s limiting beliefs, I get to keep them. It taught me that hard work beats talent when talent won’t work hard.
I’m a first-generation college grad.
I am privileged to have been stopped by the police, suspected of transporting drugs, fined and threatened with jail time. It taught me that “yes sir” and respecting law enforcement was wise, even when they were wrong, and even when my ego had other plans. I got to go home and have dinner with my wife and children.
I am privileged to have had an alcoholic dad. It taught me the power of non-negotiable boundaries, unconditional love, and forgiveness. He was able to be the grandfather our two sons needed.
I am privileged to have been born in the United States of America. It has taught me that democracy is not perfect, and that we should love our country, learn from our mistakes, and support those who fight for our freedom and our safety while holding them accountable to high standards.
I am privileged, while traveling abroad, of being threatened with jail and deportation and separation from my wife and child–unless I paid a bribe. It taught me that I won the birthplace lottery.
Yes, I suppose it’s true. I’m privileged. It has taught me that, if we change the way we see things, the things we see will change, too.
May God bless you and continue to bless our great nation.
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