Last year I watched the show Little Fires Everywhere.
If you haven’t heard about it here’s the quick and official summary:
“Based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller, “Little Fires Everywhere” follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.” (IMDB).
I have the worst memory for television shows and movies. I can never remember any characters or their names or the setting or really what happened. I tend to just love shows while I’m watching them but then after I usually forget most of it.
However, sometimes certain things stick out to me and stay with me forever. Even if I can’t remember anything else about the show.
Little Fires Everywhere had one of these moments for me. I’ll show the moment below.
You didn’t make good choices. You had good choices.
In this context the conversation was surrounding race but I think we can extend this compassion and understanding to many more situations and people in our lives.
This isn’t meant to sound cocky but I get a lot of praise for the person I have become, my education and my field of work. Trust me, I never go asking for it but I get it a lot. People who are impressed with the work I do for others and the person I am.
But this scene made me realize that, while I did work hard to get where I am, most of my success can be attributed to the choices given to me. The reason I got here is because I had good choices.
Sure, I made the good choices to do my homework instead of party. But, I was raised in a family that could support me with my homework and provide me the tools I needed to succeed.
Completing my homework led to good marks which led to a post secondary education. An education that was supported by my family. An education that led to a job to help me support myself.
It was string of good choices offered to me that I really didn’t do anything to deserve.
I thought this was a timely post to write as the holidays approach. I think this is a time of year that really shows the vast difference in people’s situations. Some people may be getting hot tubs and designer handbags for Christmas while we also see an increase in people asking for help and an increased attendance and need at food banks.
When we see or hear about people who are in different circumstances than our own and are asking for help, let’s not put the blame on them. It’s not always a matter of working harder to get out of tough situations, or a lack of work ethic that found people in these dire situations.
It’s about the choices we had and not always the choices we made.
I am not discrediting any of the work I have done to get where I am but I know the people who are asking for money on the sidewalk are not getting the same praise I do. When I bet you they are working ten times harder than me to navigate impossible, confusing and insufficient social supports.
If you are like me and you feel like you’ve had a lot of good choices I hope you’ll realize that you had good choices and not everybody is so fortunate. It’s really important to check our privilege especially in these times where in this time of year consumerism is encouraged. I hope you’ll acknowledge all the good choices you’ve had throughout the years and use your skills and passion to provide good choices for more people in your community. Let’s extend more praise and support than judgement this holiday season.
Read more of Liza’s stuff here: The Age of Temporariness & Because it’s Family
Follow along to hear all about the ups and downs in direct support work, young adult life, and allyship – it sure has given me lots to write about! Enjoy some casual, light-hearted tales about all my adventures along the way.
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