What we are used to is what we are okay with: some thoughts on privilege

The house next door to ours is currently in the process of being flipped. This means that at any given time, there are roughly 4-6 trucks/vans/tractor trailers in next door’s driveway and in our cul-de-sac. The various workmen are there really long hours, usually from about 7 in the morning to 8 or so at night.

There is one man that I’ve noticed being there more than the others. His white work van says that he does tile and other kinds of flooring. The reason I have noticed this man is because he often has what I assume is his son with him. This boy is probably about 9 or 10 years old. Where in the past I have noticed this particular boy and his dad come and go several times throughout the day, the day before yesterday they were there all day long…probably a straight 12 hours. I saw the boy do various things during the day: sit in his dad’s van, play with rocks in the backyard of the house his dad was working on, walk around our cul-de-sac, and shoot baskets in the nearby basketball goal using the only ball he had, which was a soccer ball.

From what I could tell, this boy wasn’t mad at having to entertain himself all day in a strange place, wasn’t grumpy because he was hot, and wasn’t bored. I thought about students of mine who have talked to me about going to work with their parents when school is out. I also couldn’t help but think about myself at the same age, and about how I would have reacted if my parents had told me I had to go with them to work (outside) all day long in the summer. I know that I would have whined, complained, and generally raised hell about this plan. As if I needed another reminder, this shows me yet again just how privileged I was, and am. This also says something about the state of child care in this country, and that it is only the affluent who can afford to pay someone else to watch their child(ren) when school is not in session.

The boy and his dad aren’t here today. I hope they’re both getting to relax.

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