I grew up in poverty my whole life, up to the age of 19. My mother was a single parent of 6 children and with an averaged income of 20k a year. We were on public assistance all the time. We never went on vacation; we never went to amusement parks and rarely did we go to eat at restaurants.
I attended Bethel University for my freshman year. It was one of the most interesting years ever in my life. I faced struggles and challenges like never before. My high school did nothing to prepare me for what was ahead. My vocabulary and the way I thought would change very quickly.
I remember once my brother and I were arguing in the car. In the past I would have played the, whoever is louder game wins. Instead of raising my voice as he expected, I explained myself methodically. He
turned and looked at me upset and said, ”Now you think you’re betterthan me because you’re in college". And for a moment l was hurt. The memory has stayed with me to this day.
The next few years where filled with high expectations for me to provide for my mother and siblings. My oldest sister and brother had abandon the home at 18 years old, leaving me as the oldest. As I took the lead at home with my siblings, I quickly took it on myself to be there for them. I stayed home to help my
family. There were times when my older siblings would come back home looking for a place to live. Again, I took on the responsibility.
We were five people living in a 1-bedroom apartment. I told my mom that I was leaving and not renewing the contract at the apartment (it was under my name). She did not believe me. No one did. It was 2 days before the last day on the lease. I began to pack my stuff and load them into my car. 1 day “left, yet nobody believed me. It was not until the last day when I kissed my mom good-bye. At that
moment, my mother and brother accused me of abandonment. I felt horrible, I tuned and as I got into my car, I cried and drove not knowing where I was going.
I told myself, if I don’t learn to be on my own I will never be ready to have my own family. I needed to get away so that I could come back and help my family.
Fast forward 4 years, my wife and I have our own newer home. 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, with a debt to income ratio so low that we are able to save up to 40% of our income for future retirement! Now it was time to help my mother and siblings. Most would eventually come back and stay with us for a while
before finding their footing and heading out. Up to this day, my mother stays with us. I am able to take care of her no matter what!