It would have been very easy for me to look at the negative and use it to my advantage, or to escape responsibility. I had a drunken daddy, and yes, we three kids were teased a lot about that in school. I was a sickly child and I could have allowed myself to feel sorry for myself. We were poor and even though our clothes were clean and pressed, often they were patched, but neatly so - and, yes, we were teased about that, too. Then, at age 11, I developed severe acne which lasted until I was 40 - 40! There was one incident where 2 fellows passing me said something to the effect that I shouldn't go out of the house without a bag over my face.
Still, I was taught from little up that words were something to be shrugged off as quickly as possible. I was taught to do right, no matter what the others around me were doing.
And I was taught a very strong work ethic. In Philly, we got working papers in our early teens. Almost every kid I knew had a part time job by the time they were 15 or 16.
I was also taught that I owed my boss a proper day's work for my pay. If I didn't like my arrangements, I should find something else. And even though the first few decades on jobs, I worked at jobs I truly hated, I had my dreams. And I worked at them, evenings and weekends, to hone my skills. But I always had my bread-and-butter jobs.
Without that background, without that sense of responsibility, I probably wouldn't have my little old mobile home today. And I wouldn't have spent my final decades in work I loved. I worked hard all my life. Nobody supported me - ever. And, yes, I am proud of that.
So, Sweet Lord Jesus, tonight I thank you, the Father, the Holy Spirit, for the family you sent me to, for their work ethic. I will always be grateful to them, always, for that... and more. And, thank you, Mom and Dad, and I wish I had told you all this when you were still alive!