Adversity creates character

Here is another classic Margaret Valone column.

The other night I was reminiscing about my childhood. In those days, we went to work on the farm. We usually were picked up in a pickup truck. I guess if we had been born in the south, we would have been cotton pickers, but in western New York, we picked berries, beans, tomatoes, currants, etc. We had a lot of fun. Nobody told us we were underprivileged children.

One farmer (probably the richest one) had cottages where we could stay overnight. I say cottages because it sounds better. They were really huts. One night my mother allowed us to sleep out under the stars. Doesn’t that sound romantic? The truth is, she was baking bread and the hut was so small that it was unbearably hot to stay inside. If I said we had to sleep out on the ground that wouldn’t sound as good. If I said we slept on the grass, that’s not so bad. But if we slept on the dirt, then we were dirt poor.

Ah, semantics! It’s all in the way you tell it.

We learned how to work and enjoy it. Our pay at the end of the day was usually an ice cream cone. We thought we were rich. We grew up to be hard-working, responsible adults. This story can be one of humility or pride. You might say it takes humility to admit that at one time you had very little. Or you might take pride in the fact that you have traveled a long way from that time. Now you have a great deal. I see it all as positive. This is why we are who we are. Adversity creates character.

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