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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Encouragement (02/23/12)

TITLE: Who knows what could have been
By Tendi Rice


A child is born to a young teenage mother and not to mention an absentee father
As if the world is not cruel enough, she enters into this world unwanted by the people who should love her the most
She grows up free to do as she pleases; with no one to advice, restrict or counsel her
She makes poor choices and suffers the consequences, but that’s her life because she knows no better
Who knows what her life would have been had she been raised by willing, loving parents

A single mother struggles to raise her children alone
Her abusive ex-husband had nothing more to offer her and the kids than the regular ill-treatment
She lost most of her friends during the time she suffered from depression
Her parents abandoned her when she chose to marry this ‘loser’ whom they turned out to be right about
The church support group squeezed her out for divorcing him, as they considered it ‘unholy’
Who knows what her life could have been had her husband been the supportive caring man he vowed to be on their wedding day

A high school drop-out is now homeless and has made the streets his abode
He begs for money and eats out of trash cans just so he can survive
He is addicted to drugs and will use anything he can find at whatever the cost
He sometimes pickpockets and mugs people to get the extra cash he ‘needs’
Had you known him before, you would not now recognize, the intelligent and smart young man he once was, before he dropped out of school
Who knows where his life could have been, had someone taken the time to instill in him the value of a good education, not to mention the importance of keeping with the right company

A young boy is abandoned by his parents from birth and has spent his entire childhood moving from one foster home to another
At first he would try his best to win their love; he would tidy his room, eat his vegetables and help out around the house
But he learnt in time that no matter what he did, they never loved him and he eventually had to move, just when he’d be getting comfortable and starting to make friends
So eventually he stopped caring and became naughty so they would rid him soon enough
He began pinching a penny or two, a habit which in time ended him up in juvenile detention
Who knows what his life could have been, had any of those foster parents loved him enough to even praise his efforts

The person you may know may not have a story as extreme, but somewhere along life’s way you have encountered someone who could have done with a little affection coming from you
Perhaps it was your sister who needed you to support her when she was going through a rough patch, or a spouse who needed your affection at a time when they doubted your commitment
It may have been a friend with whom you could have shared a word of kindness or a neighbor who needed your help to deal with an addiction
Perchance it was just a stranger who so desperately needed a smile you could have given at no cost
And now who knows what their life would have been had you taken a little time, to cheer them on and give them that little encouragement.

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This article has been read 279 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Donna Wilcher03/01/12
Wow..what a touching piece. I could feel the pain of each of your characters; what they went through and all they needed was just one someone to reach out and give them encouragement.

Very nicely told...good work!
Kathleen Langridge03/02/12
You evoked such empathy and sorrow with each telling of these situations. It takes so little to encourage, doesn't it?
One problem that I saw was a lack of punctuation. I am not certain what happened with that.
Be encouraged and keep writing.
C D Swanson 03/02/12
Excellent depictions of how important it is to encourage, and love and support others. Well done, and well told.

God Bless~
Nancy Bucca03/04/12
You make an important point about the need for encouragement. There are many people out there who can use it. Thanks for sharing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/05/12
This is a heart-wrenching verse. It tugs at my heart and fills my eyes with tears. There are so many hurting people out there and just as many reasons for why they are hurting. A million stories, yet it only takes one person to say just a few words to make someone's day better.

I'm not an expert at poetry, so I don't have a lot of red ink for this free style verse. The one thing I noticed is though you didn't use end punctuation, you did use semi-colons. It's a little thing but I think if you had been consistent and not put in any semi-colons or commas or put in periods and question marks, it might have had a greater impact on me. I like the idea of no punctuation because it created this run-on effect that mirrored the words in your story. The world is a big run-on of hurting people. I thought that was a clever way to show it and help the reader feel your meaning.