Bridging the Gap

The other day I went on a field trip with our Family Literacy program to the Museum of Nature and Science. We have had a membership here since Bea was little. One of our favorite activities is exploring the dioramas, the hall of life, and the dinosaurs. As I was talking with other moms, I was amazed at the fact that this was most of their first time visiting! Even though their kids are my age, going to this incredible place just wasn’t on their radar.

IMG_7032The older I get and the more stories I hear, the more I realize how little I’ve had to overcome in this life. My parents were able to provide for college; my loans for grad school were minimal since I was going into a field that was underrepresented, both in interested workers and in finances. I’ve had opportunities to travel, to learn, to be continually supported in my decisions.

I am incredibly grateful for these privileges and would never want to trade them. As we plan for the future and make decisions about how we’ll raise our girls, a lot of these same values are guiding our choices.

But coupled with what I’ve been given, I think it’s important to remember that I am unique. Not all my friends were given the gift of a paid-for college education. Not everyone I know has had the support to travel and explore.

I think that this is what everyday privilege looks like. When we talk about the evils of privilege, I think a lot of us think of one group working really hard and another group living off of government support. People have a lot of big feelings about the word privilege these days.

Privilege, of course, isn’t limited to travel and education. It’s not worrying about the bills or knowing we can finance something if we had to. It’s knowing how to save and live within our budget. (And how to make a budget in the first place!) I think privilege looks different for everyone because we all take our values and make choices differently.

But, part of walking humbly with God is recognizing all God has given me and all that others may not have. It’s learning to bridge the gaps, not so that one side loses out but so that all sides gain.

When did you first recognize your own area of privilege? How do you hold that humbly?

Linked with Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “overcome.”

BackyardThis post is Day 27 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the Backyard Justice. You can find the entire series over at my Backyard Justice page.

12 thoughts on “Bridging the Gap

  1. Hey Annie, I’m a near neighbor at FMF this week. And after clicking on a number of peoples writings, I saw your Goodreads on the right – and think we may have just become FB friends today through the SheLoves book club convo. What a small world right. Anyhow, I enjoyed your post and yes people are always talking about privilege these days and I agree, I think that means something different for everyone. It’s so neat that your kids are getting the chance to frequent the museum, gosh I love museums, people don’t go there enough! On our recent trip to the U.S I finally got to visit the Met in New York, highlight of note!! Be blessed! Lauren (setapartwarrior.blogspot.co.za)

  2. Great question Annie. Are you familiar with Ken Wytsma? He’s a pastor in Oregon and has now written two books on the intersection of culture, faith and privilege. He’s also got a healthy sense of humor. This morning between commutes I’m listening to his podcast on white privilege , good stuff. As for becoming aware of my own privilege it’s relatively new for me having grown up in poverty. I did not own a bed until my mid thirties, but had a dual masters degree (which I’ll be paying off till I’m 90 haha). I didn’t drive a car till I was 29, didn’t own a car till my mid thirties. Etc. However, one area of privilege my parents always made us aware of were our ten fingers, ten toes, ability to see, walk, hear and speak. They all worked with individuals who are differently abled do in spite of our living conditions we weren’t allowed to qualify our monetary limitations because we could think and work. My mother also likes to say we’re rich in love; I’ll go with that. I also became aware at a young age that having white skin, a fancy sounding name and being ‘acceptable’ looking got me more positive attention from teachers and other authority figures who treated my peers differently because they may have looked ‘more poor’ than I did. These are not not comfortable admissions but I’m willing to trip over my own discomfort as part of helping us arrive at equality and peace. Working on a post I started last weekend with some parallel themes. I’m eager to write! Thanks 🙂

    1. I read “Pursuing Justice” a few years ago, and liked it a lot. (I should try to find it again…) I’ll check out his podcast, too!

      I think that’s where I struggle with privilege. I know that I have SO many privileges and that they are all different for everyone. How do I appreciate the privilege of 10 fingers and 10 toes? The ability to walk through this world without assistance? Your comment on your name and appearance is so interesting…. What are the biases we give to people in that snap observations? Looking forward to your post…

  3. THIS: “But, part of walking humbly with God is recognizing all God has given me and all that others may not have. It’s learning to bridge the gaps, not so that one side loses out but so that all sides gain.” I think when we truly can see privilege as this definition, we are beginning to win the battle.

    1. Yes! It’s about learning!! I feel like a shift is happening, don’t you? I’m not sure we’ll see it soon (I sound like an old lady!) but maybe our kids or their kids will? I hope…

  4. I really appreciated your post and especially this comment, “But, part of walking humbly with God is recognizing all God has given me and all that others may not have. It’s learning to bridge the gaps, not so that one side loses out but so that all sides gain.”

  5. I was raised with little, but I was raised to understand the importance of being focused and hard working. As I have aged what I thought was a life of non-privilege was more privileged than I thought. I believe the color of my skin did help. The more I hear and see. I believe that. I first learned this when I entered the military in the Mid 80’s. It was my first interaction with racism. It was shocking. I watch the film Same Kind of Different as Me, the other day. It drove home that we really need to listen and see people to understand them. Not everyone wants to be on assistance. If you haven’t I recommend seeing it. I have the book, but never got to reading it. It is a true story, I am told.

    1. I think that’s what I’m learning – it can be easy to compare my experiences to those who have more. But, remembering we’re all on a spectrum and being thankful for the privilege I do have is so important!

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