tinno 06 asks: My uncle and aunt pay for my school fees but they do not pay enough. I suffer at school, but I can’t tell them. This has made me less social – I can’t associate with my friends because in the middle of the term I run out of money, and I don’t eat on Saturday. What should I do? At school I have attitude because am not happy at home. I feel like am not loved. All the time I cry, and I live a fake sad life at school. I do not have clothes, so I have this bad habit of getting people’s things. I really need help please help me.
Hi tinno 06 –
tinno 06, this letter might be even sadder than the one about your father! I am so sorry you’re going through this!
Money is one of the parts about humanity that I have lots of trouble understanding. I mean, I like the idea of a token economy (no dog could have ever come up with that!), but the way that people have so many feelings about it, that just mystifies me. Rich people are ashamed to admit how much money they have, poor people are ashamed to admit that they don’t have much, and someone like you who’s getting money from someone doesn’t feel they have the right to tell them that the amount isn’t enough.
I certainly understand being kind and sensitive, and not wanting to appear ungrateful for what your aunt and uncle are giving you. But the truth is, you are grateful – you just aren’t getting as much as you need!
So the loudest voice in my head tells me that the best thing would be for you to get some sort of job, one that could pay for some of the things you need. I don’t know how old you are, but is there something you could do – either around the house, or in your neighborhood, or (if you’re old enough) in a store – just to make a little extra money, so you could go out with your friends?
But if that’s not possible, I wonder if there’s a way to talk with your aunt and uncle, in a way that doesn’t seem demanding. Where you could just sit down with them and explain that you’re not able to afford what you need, and see if they have any suggestions. Maybe they’d be able to spare a little more money for you (and that might involve you doing a bit of work for them, which wouldn’t be too horrible – it’d just be your first job!). Or if not, they might know someone else who could help you out for some of that money (some other relative, perhaps).
Now about that “bad habit” of yours. When you talk about “getting people’s things,” am I right that you’re talking about stealing? If so, as painful as it is, I urge you to stop that, now. If you’re feeling unloved in your life, just imagine how much you’re ruining any chance of making friends at school, if the word gets around that no one should trust you. And that reputation will last, most likely. In other words, let’s say you’re ten years old now – well if you’ve got “attitude” today, most likely people will forget about that within a few years, or at least they’ll say “Hey tinno 06, you used to be kind of a jerk, but now you’re really cool!” But if you’re stealing, the odds are they’ll never let you close enough to find out how much more fun you are.
I certainly understand the urge to steal. After all, those other kids have more than you do, and that’s not really fair. I’ve felt the same way lots of times, like when Handsome has people over and makes some really nice dinner for them, and it’s up on the table and smells so good and hearty and warm and tasty… and not one of those guests has ever guarded Handsome’s house or chased away squirrels from his yard, or laid their head in his lap when he’s feeling really miserable, or licked his face a hundred times… so they don’t deserve that food nearly as much as I do, and no one’s looking right now, and I could just use that chair to lift myself up and get my head near that plate, and with my big doggy tongue I could clear that whole dinner in one slurp and…
Well, you know how that works out, don’t you?! Locked outside, yelled at, and I don’t get any of the leftovers I would have otherwise had. I’m actually worse off for having taken the food.
Now you’re not a dog, and there’s no reason for you to be treated like one. But there is one thing in common between your life at school and mine in my home. And that’s that, even if things aren’t as fair as they should be, you benefit from what’s there, and you have reason to hope things will get better. Again, if I don’t jump onto the table and steal dinner, I might well get some leftovers. I’ll certainly get my own food for dinner, as well as lots of love and play and a comfortable place to sleep. Similarly, if you don’t steal, you have the potential for friends, a fun environment (away from your home especially), and maybe some really great relationships.
So take it from someone who understands – stealing is a really bad idea!
Far better to find ways to get money and goods from people who want to give them to you, because you’ve earned it or because they just want to. When that happens, you feel so much better about yourself, and you don’t have to worry about getting caught!
I hope these thoughts help, tinno 06. I do understand that you’re in a really tough situation. And if there’s anything else I can do to help, please let me know.