Not that long ago in the U.S. a sure sign of poverty was if a family's children ran around without shoes. Since children outgrew shoes so quickly, it was an expense that families forgo until the children stopped growing so quickly. In fact, I remember a seeing a movie where a Dust Bowl farm family stretched to buy a pair of shoes for their kid to wear to school.
Those days are thankfully behind the U.S. Besides shrinking poverty rates and the fact that the U.S. "poor" live lives most people in the developing world dream of, shoes are pretty damn cheap. A pair of kids shoes can be found at Target for literally three dollars.
So barefoot children in the U.S. should be seen only around the pool or the beach. Except they aren't. I am continuously amazed to see children running around barefoot. No flip-flops. No sandals. I am talking eight and ten year olds in totally bare feet. And I am not talking about children running across open fields of green grass or running barefoot in the park, I am talking inside Starbucks, walking down the street, and in strip-mall parking lots.
Now these are children of parents who could not only afford cheapos from Target, but $100 shoes named after the latest NBA star. But they allow their children to run around like Huck Finn. Besides the possibility of getting cut, scraped, stepping on a nail, picking up tetanus, or any a number of things that can happen walking on public streets and sidewalks without shoes, it speaks of another problem: the parents' lack of class.
These parents spend inordinate amounts of money to buy the "right" car, but then allow their children to run around like a third world street urchins. And should their precious little brat step on a nail in a supermarket parking lot, who do you think they'll blame? They'll have a suit filed before the day is over.
It just goes to show you that money doesn't buy class. It makes me wish for the return of "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" signs.