I just want to swim at your pool

Today’s entry is very controversial.  I can honestly say the way I feel about this issue is the same way I feel about politics in general.  I am a flip flopper or a moderate.  I can see both sides.  I have strong feelings about both sides that are often in conflict.

Back to the topic at hand.  I am a member of a facebook group in Katy/Cinco Ranch where people posts things to sell.  This morning a girl posted “iso someone in cypress or katy who lives in a subdivision with a pool that i can come bring my kids to if you have extra pool tags or something. our sub don't have a pool and kids want to swim everyday. thanks so much.” It kind of rubbed me the wrong way that this girl wanted people to give her their neighborhood community pool tags because her kids wanted to swim everyday. A few people suggested the YMCA (the one in Katy is really nice and has a fantastic pool).  Others suggested the really nice free pool that Harris County runs. 

Here was my dilemma.  On one hand she is a mother (who may or may not have any money, could be single mom…I did not know her story).  On the other hand, we pay a decent size homeowners fee that pays for us to use our neighborhood amenities.  It just doesn’t seem fair for people to “freeload” and be given a key so they could have access to a community pool where they don’t live.

Ok…so this is where I flip flop.  This whole issue can probably be tied back to the income inequality debate.  (She later posted she didn’t have money to join the YMCA and would check out the city pool).

I saw income equality first hand when I spent 13 out of my 14 years teaching high school in a low socioeconomic school.  I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I saw the kids who I knew would be like my father and get out of the poverty cycle (he grew up in the Michigan Foster Care System), and those who would continue to be in that cycle. 

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but certainly had a decent middle class upbringing.  My husband and I have been very fortunate to have had good jobs and things have gone well for us.  We both have worked since we turned 16 and have had very strong work ethics in every job we have had.  We were often the first ones to work and the last ones to leave.  Should society get mad at us because things have worked out on the better side of the spectrum?  Should we feel guilty?  I get that we have an obligation to give back because God has blessed us so much.  But my main question is about the issue of “how do you answer this pool question?”

I know income inequality is at its highest right now.  The rich are getting very rich, the poor are still struggling, and more people in the middle class are falling to the lower class level.

This is the problem in my opinion:

-          There is a push in school for everyone to go to college….this is not realistic and we need people to have trades (which often pay much more than college degrees)

-          The reality in the U.S. is that if you do go to college and get the “right degree”, life will look different than someone who chooses to take some time off after high school and work (statistically these people won’t ever go back to school)

-          Should we hate rich people?  Are rich people bad?  Can you get mad at someone who did not come from money, worked hard, saved hard, and now have a good nest egg?

-          What do you do about the people who live middle class lives, above their means and spend every dollar they make?  When they go to retire, they have no money.  Who takes care of these people?  I heard on Dave Ramsey today a guy called in. His parents were 80 and 85. They owned their own home and had saved $60,000.  They were worried about one of them dying.  How do you live a combined 165 years and only have $60,000 saved? 

-          I often heard kids tell me “I can’t afford to go to college….many of these were very smart kids”.  My reply always was “you can’t afford to not go to college”.  Why not take out a loan?  I took our student loans, my husband took out student loans, why is it all or none?  Why not invest in yourself?

-          I saw smart kids from poor families who wanted to go to college, but were pressured by their parents to stay at home…What do you do about this?

Ok…enough ranting…bottom line…How do you feel about the pool question? Go!

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