The Mud of Childhood


I warn my students every semester, “One day you will question every part of your childhood.”

They, of course, don’t believe me. But it happens to us all.

If you grow up in Appalachia, the questions come as soon as you escape the mountains.

Why did you raise me in a small town?
Why did we live so far away from good doctors?
Why didn’t I go to a better school?

And, I’ll be honest, when I heard the term “Appalachia” for the first time my senior year of college, I was pissed.

As it turns out, my parents chose to grow our family in one of the most economically depressed regions in the country.

But – just five years later – my attitude dramatically changed.

In pursuing my master’s in public health, I found a peace: research suggests my childhood might not have been so bad.

Dirt is good.
Risk is healthy.
And books – even those tattered ones our library couldn’t afford to replace – are the key to overcoming life’s greatest adversity.

But how do you apologize for being ungrateful in those early adulthood years of questions and doubt?

The answer is quite simple: Allow your children that same freedom to make the best of their circumstances.

And when your kids serve you the finest mud pie, you accept a rusty pan from soiled fingers and smile.

Because, not long ago, that little chef was you.

*For more pictures and musings, follow Lauren on Facebook.

::today’s daily inspiration::

One Year Ago: The Ones I Couldn’t Save

Two Years Ago: To Love Is to Release

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