This is filed under Personal, Parenting, and something to think about – the same way you think about college funds and life insurance.
As I was walking through Disneyland with my friend Ali , she told me that she had made a decision regarding her daughter. As an only child, there are no other siblings for her daughter, “Z”, rely on to take care of Ali and Mr. Ali in their old age. “Z” would grow up without a support group of peers or ‘cradle to the grave’ cohorts. Ali told me her plan, and I must say it is brilliant.
She said she had already penciled my youngest daughter, Darla, in as a sibling to Z – and in return, when I am old and decrepit (or more decrepit in all honesty) Baby Z would be there to support Darla in caring for me. In the years between now and then, the girls would be raised in separate home but in frequent contact. We have a couple of other wonderful friends in common with daughters in the same age range as our girls and they would be incorporated.
Why should you care about this and what does it have to do with homelessness?
Remember last week when I shared the list of Homeless causes? One of the items was a poor social network and support system. I see many young people who don’t have housing and also don’t have any personal connections to someone who can offer emotional or physical support. Girls and mothers are particularly at risk. Even with all the rhetoric of “Girl Power” we can expect our daughters to be paid 40% less than male counterparts and fall subject to laws restricting their personal health choices. Rather than simply hope that Darla and Z will make some lifelong friends by chance, the choice is to build them a community where they will always have each other. It is worth noting that Ali and I first met 25 years ago in a family oriented Masonic Sorority called Job’s Daughters.
Yes, Darla has a sister who is 16 years older than she is; you have all seen photos of Jax on this very blog. Currently Jax and Darla have very little in common and chances are that even when they are both adults – they will never be in the same emotional, financial or spiritual places. They are sisters but may never feel like sisters. Raising Darla and this specific grouping of girls as a community of sisters is the best thing we can provide them a network where they will have sisters who can identify with their joys and struggles and be ever-present that way that families are. It also will give the girls unfettered access to other adults “Aunties and Uncles” who can share their experience and knowledge: I am a social worker and techno nerd, Ali is a youth pastor, our friend Andrea is a lawyer.
Some mothers build playgroups , we are building a sorority. These girls are going to have to work extra hard if they want to be emotionally and socially disjointed enough to become homeless.
What would you build to protect against a source of poverty and homelessness?
♥♥ Women and families represent the fastest growing groups of the homeless
from the apa.org “Almost a third of the adult U.S. population is a caregiver for an ill or disabled
relative, the majority are female and many are employed part or full-time“