The Impact Of Childhood On Adult Life In The Other Wes Moore
For many, one’s childhood can determine many outcomes/decisions in their life. Things that people experience as youth may play a major role in the life that they are living today as adults. This is showed throughout the book “The Other Wes Moore”. Two boys, with the same name, both from Baltimore, one now trying to achieve great things (which I will refer to as Wes throughout my paper) and one doing life in prison (which I will refer to as Moore throughout my paper). Why it’s clear these two men have some major differences, they also have some similarities. These similarities and differences are displayed in their family, community, and themselves as well.
One of the first major similarities the book wanted us to notice between the two boys were the fact that growing up neither one of them had their father in their life. And that this did have an impact on both young children’s lives. Wes’s father gets very ill and passes away when he is a very young boy. Then we have Moore’s father, who cowardly chooses not to be a part of his life, which leads Moore to be angry and hurt because of it. When the two men come together to converse face to face the topic of absent fathers comes up. And Moore says to Wes “Your father wasn’t there because he couldn’t be, mine wasn’t there because he chose not to be. We’re going to mourn their absence in different ways.” (Moore, 2010, p.10) From this, I take Moore expressing that he is bitter about his father’s absence in his life and he feels he has every right to be. Moore’s expresses in the book that single mother households were normal, and he very rarely seen two “happy” parent households (Moore, 2010, p.29-30).
Another similarity I would like to point out is the environment the two boys grew up in. As children, both Wes and Moore lived in communities with drugs and violence. Moore’s big brother Tony was someone he looked up to as a child, being he had no father figure. Tony was in the drug business and wasn’t the best example for Moore. Soon, Moore would get a glimpse of the drug life and decide that was what he wanted to do. Being that he didn’t have many people in his life to stop him from making wrong decisions, he was a child that could do what he wanted because he had very little supervision at a young age. Moore was nearly left to fend for himself and make his own rules with little guidance from his older brother Tony. This led to him feeling like he had to make bold decisions to protect himself and earn himself a name. He was arrested at the age of 6 for an incident with a knife (Moore, 2010, p.32-33). This then led to him seeing his big brother in the drug game, with all these materialistic things, and he eventually wanted in. For Wes, once he moved in with his grandparents, he started making friends in the area. His grades begin to slip, and his mother threatens to send him to military school. Time goes on and Wes ends up getting in trouble with the police and in school. His mother is over it and sends him off to military school (Moore, 2010).
Socially, we see discipline and guidance for youth very necessary. You can see this instilled in Wes’s mother because she won’t tolerate acting out and she will punish Wes when needed. As youth, it is good to set boundaries because when they began to transform into adulthood all these negative ways are embedded in individuals if it isn’t corrected. For example, like Moore, he knew wrong from right, but he didn’t have anyone to enforce those expectations. So, as he continues to get older, he feels as if he’s “in too deep” to change his ways. This only leads him to act out more and get in more trouble. It becomes a pattern for Moore but is it his fault? We see how both young boys grew up in areas with little money, drugs and violence. However, they turned out different but why? I believe that the guidance they had as children played a big part. The law seen Moore as a criminal and a troubled boy, but did he have much of a chance to turn out positive after knowing his circumstances as a child. He didn’t see what else the world had to offer. What he knew was the streets so that’s where he made a name for himself. Eventually down the line, leading him to prison for life.
In the book, there comes a point where it seems as if both men are on positive paths. Wes is attending college and focused on making a better future for himself. After seeing one of his children’s mother high, Moore decides he wants a better life too. He gets his GED and gets a job. (Moore, 2010) The jobs he is working don’t pay much and being that Moore has children and a family he feels as if he isn’t doing enough. This leads him to go back to his old ways. As a child Moore didn’t have a father figure and his family wasn’t wealthy. So, he knew what it was to struggle, and he knew his way to fix it. Which was get back into the drug business, which was really all he knew. As I mentioned before, experiences as a child can contribute to the life we live as an adult. Dealing drugs for the good money was the outlet Moore choose this time around because he felt he had to. He wanted a better life, but he also wanted his family and children to have a better life than he did. He did what he felt he had to do. In the midst of getting back in the game, Moore and his brother rob a jewelry store and an officer is killed. This leaves both Moore and his brother doing life and prison, where his brother is eventually killed. Going into this Moore didn’t think this would be the outcome. He had been doing things like this his whole life. A little time in jail, then he was back on the streets. Never did he see his life ending like this because when he did these things, he was thinking about in the moment not about his future. Like Moore always did, this outcome was different though. For Wes, he continued to make a positive life, furthering his education and career like he was taught. His outcome in life was much more positive.
From this story, I understand that the things we experience as youth can make a difference. The things we expose to our youth does matter. To educate our youth on wrong and right will make a difference in the decisions we they make as adults. We all have a choice, but we all don’t have the same factors that push and pull our choices. That is something to think about.
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