People tend to say that in order to raise a child successfully you need two parents. The families that we see on TV, the families that we read about in books, all tend to be just alike: a mom, a dad, and a couple of kids living in a house with a picket fence and Spot the family Jack Russell.
Now while the picket fence has gone out of style, people’s general idea of what a family should look be hasn’t. The reality is that most children today are growing up in single parent homes. Think of five of your friends and count how many live in a home with only one parental figure. Out of the five friends that I chose, 3 have an estranged parent. As the product of a single parent home myself, I look at my friends with married parents and sometimes wish that I could say the same about mine. However, I deplore the notion that a person with two parents in some way will be more successful than me, more productive than me.
Does not having a 2 parent home make me less than someone who does? Not at all, although that’s what society and the mainstream media may lead people to believe. In fact I think it makes a person work harder and strive for more, because they’re in a situation where everyday life is a struggle and they want more for themselves and for their family. I look at my own mom who goes to work everyday, five days a week, takes odd jobs just to make ends meet and provide for her family. She tells me every morning as she drops me off “Do good in school, so you can be better than this, so you don’t have to live like this. It’s hard by yourself.” she says. And she’s right. It’s hard for anyone to raise a family for themselves and it’s even harder to watch someone do it by themselves, but all it makes me and others like me want to do is make sure that we are never in that situation. That’s why we work hard in school because we need that college scholarship so that we can live comfortably in the future if and when we get married ourselves. The things some of my married friends take for granted is amazing, but don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to attack them or anyone else. I just believe that its time for people to realize that successful people come from all walks of life and even if you barely know your father, you can end up becoming president of the United States (Obama ’08!). It’s all about who you are as a person, not who raised you.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.