As parents we often have those moments where we like to express how life was harder for us than for our children. The “up hill both ways” anecdote is a common example. A year or so ago, we experienced this same discussion, but within our own children. We had recently purchased a new stroller anticipating the birth of our fourth child. The older three sisters were quick to observe that this new stroller was seemingly nicer and better outfitted than the stroller they were privileged to have ridden in as babies. Nothing we said was able to convince them of the coolness of the stroller they had, or to simply be happy for their brother and the stroller he would get to use. So, in desperation, I pulled an “up hill both ways” story. I began describing the stroller I had as a child:
“Kids, let me tell you about the stroller I had as a baby. My wonderful stroller was made of cardboard – only cardboard, had one triangle-shaped wheel, and when it rained there was no canopy to keep me dry. One day we got caught in a rain storm. The stroller filled with water, and the bottom fell out. I let out a gasp and landed in a puddle of water. I was 2 months old. Yes, kids, I had to learn to swim at an early age!”
Now clearly this story was made up, but it caught my kids attention. They called my bluff despite my sarcastic claims to validate the story with their grandmother.
Since that time there have been several additional moments for me to share an “up hill both ways” story from my childhood. These stories have become known as the “So Dirt Poor” anecdotes.
Now as a quick explanation, we were always taken care of as kids. My parents always provided what we needed, and I am grateful for how much they’ve sacrificed for me over the years. These “So Dirt Poor” moments are simply just that – anecdotal, an opportunity to teach my children that despite how rough life may seem at the moment, we can be grateful for what we do have and know that it could be worse.
I hope you enjoy the subsequent entries in the series “So Dirt Poor”