A Young Girl’s Introduction to Poverty

Travel Blog  •  Jim Benning  •  01.07.02 | 12:44 AM ET

Lonnae O’Neale Parker’s 7-year-old daughter, like a lot of American kids, was growing up measuring her worth by her collection of electronic gadgets, Powerpuff Girls and all things Barbie. “Look at these fragile children,” Parker thought to herself, “with their underdeveloped sense of self-reliance and overdeveloped sense of entitlement.”  So she took her daughter, Sydney, on a month-long visit to Guatemala, in part “to dematerialize my material girl,” she writes in a recent Washington Post story.  Her touching account of their trip details Sydney’s introduction to a way of life very different from their own. In one instance, a beggar asks Sydney for her Coke, and Parker wrestles with just how to explain the grinding poverty to her child. “I’m not sure I had the words to let a 7-year-old know how bad off you must be to beg for soda from tourists,” Parker writes. “Some things, I decided, my child would have to process on her own.”

2 Comments for A Young Girl’s Introduction to Poverty

PRAYER 07.11.08 | 9:09 PM ET

thats why us kids and in general those well-off should think twice before lamenting for things that unimportant, we should know that we are so much more luckier than those not able to eat 3 times a day!

wherecaniclub 07.11.08 | 9:14 PM ET

totally agree with you prayer, unfortunately kids now a days only think of what they have or better what they want to have, not taking into consideration the number of people dying for hunger and the malnutrition in the 3rd world countries!

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