just because

just because

just because

I grew up in a family that had three meals every day.

I didn’t even realize that there were kids who didn’t.

My mom was home throughout my entire childhood, singing in the kitchen as she prepared our meals.  We walked home for lunch and there were sandwiches, soup, fruit and milk waiting for us every day.

I didn’t even realize that there were kids who didn’t.

I didn’t know anyone who lived any differently in the ’60’s until I started going to camp for a week every summer with kids who lived just about a half an hour away from me in the great city of Chicago.

I remember watching them as they gobbled up every morsel of the gross camp food in front of us, including two glasses of powdered milk.

At night, when the lights were off we would talk about what life was like at our schools and in our neighborhoods.

One night I remember crying silent tears as one of my bunk mates told us that her mama wouldn’t let go outside and play any kickball in the streets.  She told all of us that the streets where she lived were scary most of the time and that one of her girlfriends was shot, well, just because.

I didn’t realize that kids got shot.

It was that summer that I knew that I was lucky. I lived in my town and could play kickball and just move when we saw a car. I was lucky that cars in our town didn’t have bullets that shot kids in the street.

I also knew that I was lucky that I had  two parents who made sure that I ate my breakfast, lunch and dinner, lucky that I even had breakfast, lunch and dinner with milk that wasn’t mixed with water.  I was lucky and it was just because.

It forever changed me.

Knowing this made me into a person who wanted to do something… anything, to change part of the world around me,

just because.


About Nanc

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

11 responses »

  1. The refrain you used, and modified at times, really holds this piece together. It is beautiful Nancy. What a realization you had
    that summer camp. And how wonderful you are that you are working to change the world. (In Hebrew we call in tikkun olam.)

  2. SUch a powerful reflection on a moment of time that stayed with you because it changed your percetion of how people lived. You captured your emerging awareness of how different our lives are in this wonderful slice of your life.

  3. I was like you, I didn’t know life was different for other kids. I don’t think I learned this until I was a teacher in a rural school. Such small moments can shape the person’s life forever.

  4. So powerful….it made me think of such times for me. One being going to Haiti when I was 15 and saw starving children. I have never since that time said that I was starving and when I hear others say that I have to stop myself from giving a lecture. It is amazing how we learn such powerful lessons….and the fact that you really ‘listened’ to your campmate and that it brought you to tears shows what a sensitive person you were. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

  5. Beautiful! We listened to the This American Life Harper High School (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/488/harper-high-school-part-two) edition during our dystopian literature unit–this is a radio broadcast about a high school’s relationship with the street culture surrounding the school. The kids at my private school in Asia wondered, “Why don’t the families just leave this neighborhood?” It’s so difficult to comprehend when you don’t have a point of reference. Your response demonstrates that our hearts can only be broken for others when we’re receptive and ready–your experience was built on relationships.

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