Gratitude Amid The Struggle

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

For this next article, the author gives us much to consider. To reflect on children working hard daily to run a farm vs attending school. To think about how much education has changed in such a relatively short time. I am also struck by the appreciation of the fact that each generation is faced with its own unique hardships and that each generation can find gratitude amid the struggle. This is an intellectual story because it illustrates how important perspective is when considering the situation you are in.

I am a brown skin Italian born female. All my years in elementary school I was looked at differently. The only difference I saw was my language, as when I entered the Canadian school system I had to learn English, especially the first year. Back then the strap was allowed - hitting and cursing and so on. I experienced it all. Did I ever speak out on this? No. Did I ever tell my family? No. I was made to feel small from this experience and not valued by my tutors and the teachers and principals in this school. What I learned was to be afraid. I did not want to experience more pain, so I just obeyed and said nothing. The year was 1969. I thought I had it rough.

Fast track to today. I look back at my Mother, who I miss dearly as she passed at age 91 in February 2018. For me, growing up in Italy on a large farm with my 3 older brothers and Mother was a hard life yet a happy one. My Father was in Germany, Switzerland, and Canada. I reflect on how hard and independent my Mother had to be. I admire her strength and endurance of the times she lived in. We did not have a proper toilet, running water, a stove, heat, or electricity in the home, but we had each other and everyone worked hard daily to run the farm. My Mother and oldest Brother tended to the fields with the tractor and ox. My other brothers fed and cleaned up the animals. I tagged along with the animals as they were my friends. I would also go to the river with my Mom to wash our clothes and get fresh water from our well. I remember running in poppy fields that were taller than me. After harvest time, we had bonfires and we would sing and dance and unite with our neighbors and family. We laughed at stories and jokes, and enjoyed the company. Sundays were a day of rest and family. Church was a must. We prayed daily.

I reflect on this because even though I had a hard transition coming to Canada, I did not realize the hardship my Mother had as well. My Mother taught me: patience, independence, and to push through the hard times, because good ones are around the corner. Believe in yourself. Hard work pays off. Anything is possible. Do not forget to pray daily and believe in God. Everyday we should give thanks for the many blessings we have.

Fila is a creative person from the Metro Vancouver area in BC, Canada. She paints, crafts, and knits at any opportunity. She also loves to help others. Fila is a hard worker and thus has a variety of work experiences in finance, management, fundraising, accounting, as a supervisor, care aid, and councilor. She loves to volunteer in the arts, and since 2000 has sat on 3 Board of Directors. Her greatest accomplishment was raising her two children, seeing them grow into wonderful adults, and developing their craft in the theatre community and as good citizens. Through this she is ever so grateful to have met a variety of wonderful people, especially, strong minded women that have aided in her growth. Her advice to other women is a simple one - participate in your community, get out and get involved, so your presence and voice can be heard and thus will make a great change for us all.

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