Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dicken’s Kids

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.



  1. I wonder if it is in part due to the relatively grungy look of current fashion. Normal middle class adults, particularly the toward the younger end of the spectrum tend to look unshaven, unkempt, and bedraggeled.

    It is not universal by any means, but I would not call it uncommon either.

  2. These kids weren't playing at being grungy -they were grungy. I know what you are saying, but these kids were really poor.

  3. Being poor is no excuse for being grungy. My parents would turn over in their grave if they saw my hair and beard now.

  4. You struck me with "poverty of the soul". I was there, seven years ago. I was flat broke, with no prospects. No hope. And two little mouths to feed. Though it wasn't much (and still isn't), landing my current job is what saved me. Quite literally...

  5. It always seems to me that the children are the ones that suffer the most!

    Judging from the number of stories in the news about the parents that hurt or kill their children, I'd say that somewhere a large number of these people have really lost their way!

    Sad to see, that's for sure!

  6. I agree about poverty of the soul. How can kids or anyone have joy or hope when their stomachs ache, parents argue about bills, they look at collection containers & wish they had the contents, they hope their family gets a holiday basket from the local church, etc., and no one answers the phone until looking at caller ID.