I remember once doing an exercise for training and we played a game called “what is your privilege?” It is a game where everyone starts out in the middle of the room and takes one step forward if you have this and one step backwards if you don’t have it or if you have this.
This is humbling for those who have a lot. For those of us, who might not have had the same experience, it was an awful reminder that I had to work twice as hard to just be as successful.
As a first generation Canadian, my parents came here as refugees from the Vietnam war. This means, they came here with nothing. My dad had to drop out of highschool to support the family as his 10 brothers and sisters needed food on the table. So yes, my dad has not finished his education and as such, this is something he feels is very important to him. If it weren’t for my dad, I would never have scored 90% in my auto class and school the boys because my non-educated dad helped me develop innovative ways to build things. Our catapult was so strong we could be on the road and shooting marshmallows at the garage door and it would hit like a rock. My dad’s string mouse trap car out ran everybody’s down the school hallway. I had to chase it because it beat everyone’s not by a little but by 100 lockers. I joke but Grandma once shared a story about walking outside in public in a bathroom because she thought it was a jacket. We had it rough.
So when I saw my peers and immigrants ahead of me, I knew no one would understand my struggle. As it was mine to bear and mine to persevere. It’s funny though because as I looked around, I also realized there were a lot of Canadians at the back of the line with me. I can’t help but reflect my partner’s background of growing up devout Christian. Not being able to grow up with tv, movies, radio. He wasn’t even allowed to wear blue jeans and got spanked by the belt. I feel way more privileged than him. As we grew up poor, but I never ever felt poor. My dad would still spoil us with love and somehow got us McDonalds every Friday. I was very loved.