I was taught as a kid that we live in a country of incredible opportunities - if one's willing to do the work. Our country is based off the premise that the opportunity is provided for you to elevate yourself. Without going into my father's private life too much, he knew what it was to live in poverty and did something to change his life. He didn't ask for government handouts or welfare. He worked for it. I'm not sure what's changed in American mentality but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that most people believe that their government should provide for them what past generations worked for and earned.
Anyway, I felt bad about sending Marcel to school. So I picked him up from school early the following day and took the kids out. We had a little rehash talk on the road about his grandpa. I can't think of a better example of hard work and dedication than my own father's story. Marcel knew his grandpa's story already but I thought it important to remind him that the privileges most take for granted are not free. Not the freedom to express ourselves, to worship (or not worship) as we choose, medical care, welfare, social security, etc. Someone has to pay for it even if it's not you. Sometimes with a hit to our wallets, sometimes with blood. There's no such thing as a free lunch.
That was our little discussion on our way to the Houston Zoo. Of course, we talked about his newest girlfriend too but I know this stuff he'll remember even if he seems bored by it now. It was a fantastic day for a zoo trip too. The weather was absolutely perfect. It was cool enough that most of the animals were out and playing. This trip was made particularly easier since we had our iPhones loaded with the Houston Zoo App. Olivia makes friends everywhere she goes and at the zoo was no exception. She talked to the women sitting beside us as we ate, she made friends with the kids on the playground, and even charmed our waitress when we had dinner afterward. She kept Marcel and me pretty busy. Marcel and I were a bit disappointed that the Kipp Aquarium was closed but we did get to see the piranha at least. The kids were so worn out, they both fell asleep once they were in the car.