Monday, January 25, 2010

Extreme Makeover - Home Edition - The Powell Family

I was watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition last night and for one, that show is a guaranteed tear jerker so I was already prepped to shed a few tears but the story of last night's family had me tearing up from the start because it hit close to home since the family was Jamaican.

I was so moved by Delores's (typical Jamaican name by the way- sorry had to say something about that, lol) passion for life and her drive to make sure she gives back to others despite having to struggle herself. The emphasis she put on succeeding in life, getting a better education and creating a good life for future generations was inspirational to say the least.

When she talked about migrating to the US and sending shoes and other things back home to Jamaica it reminded me of my own family.

There was MUCH more to the story than people may realize. People who are born and raised in the U.S. have a very different outlook on life. They seem to think that they are entitled to getting things here.

Of course not everyone thinks or acts this way- let me set that straight but I have experienced people who have that mindset and its such a huge turn off.

You see, in Jamaica the welfare is pretty much non existent. The government has intentions to help their people but they have no funding to back it up so basically there is NO welfare system set up to help you land back on your feet if you've had a rough couple of months of even yrs. There you are a true "Hustler." The littlest things make you smile and mean the world to you and your family. It's extremely hard to find a good job and once you've had that good job, you hang on to it for dear life even if it means missing precious time with your family or possibly hurting your health.

Jamaica is considered one of the most beautiful most exotic countries in the world and that it definitely is. However the other side of Jamaica is harsh and cruel. There's a constant survival mode set in place and everyone's guard is up.

It's so very sad to see that a country that is one of the top vacation spots in the world has these problems.

Growing up I led a privileged life. My mom and dad worked their butts off to make sure that we didn't want for anything and that we were able to afford the best schools and live a pretty comfortable lifestyle. However, we had family members who were struggling and it was pretty hard to see.

I remember as a kid when my mom first traveled to Canada and came back with gifts for us and something as simple as a pencil with a barbie pattern on it was like winning the lotto. Nowadays kids get these expensive games and they're programmed to think that the next game system is automatically an option for them.

I've chosen to raise my sons with the Jamaican mindset that you work hard for what you want and appreciate it once you have it. However, it gets pretty frustrating when they have a "gimme" type of attitude. Especially when they see their friends with things and come home expecting to get the same type of games. Oh no, no, no, no, no!! Doesn't work like that in my house.

I'm always having to remind them of the way I was raised. Even though I was privileged, I was definitely not spoiled. There was no such thing as allowance and we didn't have half of the holidays they have here in America which meant that we were in school more because education is very important to our culture.

Jamaica's school system is one of the very best school systems ever (in my opinion) and not even that was free. You had to pay to attend school and often times if your parents couldn't afford the tuition, they had to make a decision of which child to send to school first and for how long. In the US I saw kids who came to school, skipped school, had bad grades, talked back to the teacher, just being disrespectful and not appreciating what they have.

First of all, if they did half of what they did in schools here in Jamaica (as far as misbehaving was concerned) they would get their butts whipped SOOO hard because spanking was allowed in schools there. That's why Jamaicans are so smart because they didn't have a choice but to be smart.

(For the record I only got a whipping once for not relaying a message to my mom from my third grade teacher- wasn't nice AT ALL!!)

I sometimes feel spoiled or ungrateful when I complain for the silliest things because I know for a fact that I have it waaaay better than some of my fellow Jamaicans.

So when I saw Delores's story, I was so overwhelmed with emotions just as she was because the simple fact that she was able to provide her old school with shoes, is absolutely magical. It's so very simple, but so very touching. I also saw that education was very important for her and her kids got that as well despite being raised in America. That's exactly how I want my kids to think when they get older.

This episode of Extreme Makeover was definitely a memorable one for me. It made me miss my homeland but I was extremely happy that she got the opportunity to give her kids a better life and as she said in her comments, this blessing will carry on for generations to come. I love that she said that. It shows that she's not just living for the moment, she's actually "living" and living to make a difference because really what else are we doing with ourselves if we're not living to make a difference?

6 comments:

  1. This is the first time I've visited your blog. I love this piece. It's so true, so many Americans (this is true of all privileged countries, really), take for granted what we have. We complain when we have to go "without" something -- but that something is so often a luxury such as cable tv, food from restaurants that we didn't have to cook ourselves, or some other such nonsense. We don't understand that things as simple as telephone service and clean water (not to mention enough food to eat -- where we have MORE than enough in most cases) are considered luxuries in some parts of the world. It's hard to understand how lucky you are when it's all you've ever known, but I often wish people here would get a little perspective -- and I'm American so I can't even imagine how it seems to you! Thanks for sharing your insight.

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  2. Thanks so much for your very insightful comment Patti. It's sort of an epidemic of ignorance in some ways but I'm glad you got the point of my post.

    Have a great and prosperous week. :)

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  3. What a beautiful post. Ignorance does NOT equal bliss......

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  4. Thanks Angie. You're definitely right. :)

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  5. Hi! I'm visiting from MBC. Great blog.

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  6. Hi Veronica. Thanks so much for stopping by and for the compliment. Feel free to come back. :)

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