As I looked over my last post, I realized I didn't give a complete picture. I described those whose past sometimes disables them...or at the most, they make a life for themselves by getting by. Don't get me wrong...those who make ends meet and "get by" are great people. I have no intention of short-changing my friends.
But I left out an important part of our communities. I failed to mention those who see what's around them and are determined to move beyond. They are determined not to be a statistic. They refuse to allow us to categorize them with a number that says who they are and what their life is about. Sometimes it's the adults who figured out a new way to hope; other times it's the kids who dig their heels in and refuse to let the people around them define them. For some it means college; for others, it means a full-time job; still others, it means staying home to take care of their children.
Kieva called last night, scolding me for not doing a better job of keeping up with her (you can read more about Kieva in previous posts here). She wanted to inform me that she is starting grad school on Monday and will be working toward a Master's in Public Administration. She explained that these days getting a bachelor's is what everyone is doing and she needs to be a step ahead of the rest.
When she struggled through college, people told her she wouldn't make it. I'm sure she heard that in high school as well. Kieva knew in her mind she would. She knew she could prove them wrong. And she has.
I know others like Kieva who take the path of defining their own life in spite of the naysayers around them. Sometimes I forget because they are off doing their own thing. They've forged their own path and have found other avenues of support and encouragement. I pray that their hope and determination continues.
Life is not all bleak in the inner city. :)