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When Ebenezer Scrooge wondered aloud in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” — “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?” — in response to a request for a charitable donation, that inquiry should make us wonder today if, indeed, we should make a reformed visit to the workhouse ideal.
There’s an old saying about the crisis of being born: “You can’t pick your parents.” There’s another unspoken — yet harder and uncrackable — chestnut that rings truer and harsher: “You can’t pick your income level.” For children across the world, that reality means millions are condemned to lifelong suffering because they were born into poverty without any sort of clear economic path for breaking free of that chain.
Were you ever lost as a child and the experience shook you so much that the experience sticks with you today? When I was young, my cousin and I were playing together at a park — a proving grounds — during a Fourth of July city celebration and it was a night I will never forget.
We all know a life is worth six bucks, but as a child I found out the first betrayal is worth five dollars. There are some betrayals that are so base and so entirely intimate that one is seared forever in the sacred memory and by the sanctity of the moment.
The other day Janna and I were walking around Journal Square. I was looking one way and Janna another when she saw what I missed: A young woman stepping into the street in the middle of traffic.
When you think of a mother, or of motherhood, what images and feelings pop into your mind? Are those thoughts and emotions all glowing and comforting?
Is there any hardness or open hurt in your heart?
If you are a mother, how is your relationship with your offspring different than the relationship you had with your mother?
Do you treat your kids better than your mother treated you?
Is motherhood a title?
Is motherhood a state of mind?
Or is motherhood something else we can define down across cultures and ethnicities and nations to agree on a set of behaviors and beliefs?