Friday, September 13, 2013

Hi ho. Hi Ho. It's Off to Work We Go!

Child Labor Article By Gwen Sharp, PhD I chose to do the reflection response for this article because it really hit home with me for multiple reasons. First of all, I live on the Warwick/West Warwick line and the streets that are in the surrounding neighborhoods are lined with old mill houses and decrepit old mill buildings as well as the mills themselves. I remember learning about how the kids would work all of these long hours, going to work with their parents, and being put in so much danger just to have some miniscule amount of money to rub between their fingers.... not even to keep actually but to contribute to their family. My childhood was thankfully nothing like that. I can relate to the olden times in some ways more than others, however, because from the moment I can remember, I was working. Sure it may have been my lemonade stand at the end of my drive way when I was little but by the time I was in fifth grade (11 years old??) I had started babysitting for two families before and after school as well as during the summer and school vacations. I saved up all of my money and while I was still in fifth grade, I was able to buy myself a cell phone. Why I needed one that young? No clue- because in all honesty I really didn't NEED it... I just wanted it and worked for it. Then in junior high, I bought my own laptop- also from babysitting. This probably just sounds like rambling but I swear there is a point haha. All of these things I was able to go and do with my money, the kids years and years ago were not. It was not their money. It went to mom and dad to buy food or clothing or necessities. I am no stranger to working parents got divorced when I was eight so coming up in a single mother household was not easy but it made me who I am today. we worked and cleaned and did yard work and chores but what these kids went through makes my childhood look like a walk in the park. I cannot even imagine experiencing those same things while I was growing up, and NEVERMIND today's children (sorry for the generalization). I feel like a large majority of todays youth is just very accepting and I do not mean solely of other's lifestyles. there is a lot of "I will take whatever I can get" and this sense of privilege that I have never seen so much of before. Sure I would get upset if I didn't get what I wanted when I was younger but today's youth just expects these things. New phone, new clothes, education paid for, car, etc... Would be interesting to set them up in the lifestyle that the kids in the article had to endure... I know I am rambling at this point but this article made me think of all of these things. Those children experienced and witnessed some pretty awful things and I honestly don't know I today's younger generation would be equipped to do the same....

1 comment:

  1. I really like your distinction between making money for extra spending cash and making money to support one's family. I know there are many children today who do work for extra spending cash, but there are also many contemporary children who work long hours or in dangerous jobs to help put food on the table.

    The image of the mills in your town really hit home to me and makes me wonder: in what ways does the history of milling ripple into Warwick and Rhode Island (if at all?).