The neighboring town had a small winter festival parade. Quite a few of the locals came out to enjoy this simple pleasure.
One of the things that stuck out was the poverty of the kids on the street. They looked like something out of a Charles Dicken’s novel. They were poorly dressed, dirty and their complexions had that the pasty look of poor nutrition. There were a lot of them. One kid didn’t even have a coat, but had wrapped herself in a blanket to see the parade.
I grew up in a dying mill town. It’s not like I’ve never seen poverty before. This is a different sort of poverty. In my day, very few of the poor kids were actually dirty. Their coats might have been ragged hand me downs, but they were better than blankets. There were a lot fewer of those kids back then. Few of us were rich, but our parents wouldn’t let us out of the house with dirty faces and greasy hair.
It’s not just the physical poverty. There’s a poverty of the soul. It’s as if the parents of these kids gave up all hope and stopped caring. At one time, people in general tried to better themselves, not only materially, but mentally and spirituality. In a society where we’ve stopped being citizens and are now known as consumers, there is no cultivation of the inner values. Without money, these kids have nothing at all.
In the middle of the festival, I could not help but think the kids deserve better. As a society we should do more, if only so we could walk with our heads high.