What Parents Have To Go Through For Their Kids

Our featured blogger today is Riley Keller. He is 15 years old and a member of the Decatur Church of Christ youth group.

With this being my second year of Fortress, I had already made expectations for what would happen to my body both physically and spiritually. Last year my body quickly became somewhat tired and worn. It was very hot and wearing on me because of how much focus and attention was needed. Of course I enjoyed it, and I do feel my eyes were opened to the surrounding poverty (making me grow further spiritually), but it's nothing like this year.

Riley with his two buddies, Trey and J-Mac
This year I have two buddies (well three, but one didn't show up today) named Trey and Jamarion, but we call him J-Mac. Both of them are funny and like to do things on their own most times, even though this is what sometimes causes them to get in trouble I believe. In fact, one of the funniest things I saw today was when an intern was telling Trey to sit down and to think on himself, and Trey replied, "On what? My life?"

Today for our Urban Experience we took several buses to the grocery store and had to buy a meal for our youth group for $15 or less. We ended up buying pancakes and sausage with syrup for around $13. We then proceeded to take a bus for most of the way back, but walked back a portion of the way. Now, I did this last year but it was very hot and dry. This year it was very cold and raining. This truly brought me to a new level of understanding what some of the parents have to go through for their kids needs. I mean no matter what the weather, from snow to the frying sun, the parents or guardians MUST go out into town to bring food and supplies home.

With all of this being said, I don't know if I could survive in poverty. I don't deeply value possessions or things like air-conditioning, but living in poverty isn't simply what you have to live without, but what you have to live WITH. Also, living in poverty would mean you would have to become very resourceful and knowledgeable about your surroundings, something I don't think higher-income families truly know.

My favorite experience at Fortress so far has been getting to teach my buddies math at one of the classes. I find it very rewarding when they understand it and do it on their own. It makes me wonder what kind of plans God may have for me. I think God brought me here this week to look at this world from a kid's point of view and to bring me to a better understanding of the poverty around us. I hope I will accomplish this and more. Lastly, I pray that I will develop socially and as a speaker to the point where I can talk to anyone about anything, I think this is something that would bring me closer to everyone, most importantly God.