Jennifer Garner Had a Poor Childhood, but Her Parents Taught Her to Not Be Afraid of Following Her Dreams
Today, Jennifer Garner is known by many for her brilliant work in film and television. But there was a time when the actress had no idea that her career would be so successful. She lived in a small flat, worked part-time as a babysitter, and was happy that the modest payment for the occasional role allowed her to pay the bills. But Garner wasn’t embarrassed by the modest lifestyle because she was doing what she loved.
Her parents’ life experience helps the actress remain down-to-earth and mindful of others.
Jennifer’s parents were able to start at the bottom and achieve everything on their own. Her mother was born on a farm in Oklahoma. In their house, which had no running water, clothes were sewn from sackcloth, and money was made by selling eggs to passers-by. She would also work as a nanny in rich people’s homes, where she earned about $1 a day. Though she enjoyed flipping through Life magazines, her parents simply couldn’t afford to buy such expensive things.
Patricia Ann English, Jennifer Garner’s mom
In one of the publications, Jennifer’s mom saw an ad for a Girl Scout Troop Leader position in Maine. The next day she boarded a bus and bravely left her hometown behind. The woman was only able to go to college after Jennifer was born. She decided to become a reading teacher, and her students included not only children but adults as well.
Jennifer herself, along with her two sisters, grew up in the small town of Charleston, West Virginia. Her parents weren’t wealthy, but the girls weren’t particularly troubled by this. Compared to the conditions of her parents’ childhood, their life was fantastic.
Jennifer’s mother never forgot her hungry childhood in Oklahoma, so she could make a great meal out of just about anything. The Garners didn’t have enough money for any luxuries, but her mom sewed the girls’ outfits and made all sorts of treats for them, such as crisps.
The three sisters had a strict upbringing. Their father even made a bench in the garden for the girls to sit on and talk to their boyfriends under adult supervision. But parents spared no effort to save every penny for their daughters’ education. Jennifer herself remembers her childhood years with joy.
She didn’t pay attention to the lack of money; moreover, the entire neighborhood always helped each other. Garner used to run around with her friends in the surrounding woods and spend long hours in the library. Books opened up a whole new world for the girl, and for a while, she even dreamed of working as a librarian.
As Garner grew older, she started wondering who was helping the rest of the rural kids from poor families make their way in life. She saw many organizations that supported people in need around the world, but no one was talking about similar problems in her own country.
Her first steps in the acting world didn’t come easily.
Jennifer went to Denison University in Ohio and initially decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and study chemistry. But after some time, she realized that her heart was not in this field and decided to change her major to theater studies. Despite the fact that her parents were paying for her education, they didn’t interfere with her plans; on the contrary, they supported their daughter. Her mother simply said, “Go ahead and study what you love. Then you’ll figure it out.”
After graduating from college, Jennifer set out to conquer New York, hoping to find interesting roles and launch her acting career. Her mom wasn’t worried. According to her, no matter what her daughter did, it couldn’t have been crazier than her decision to run away from the family farm to the Girl Scouts in Maine.
At first, things weren’t going too well for the aspiring actress. She got a couple of small roles in different series, but the real breakthrough offer just wasn’t coming, and life in New York wasn’t cheap.
One day, on set, Jennifer met Stephen Colbert, who was on the brink of becoming a famous TV host. Both lamented over the fact that filming was over and no other work was in sight. When Colbert mentioned that he had a young child, Jennifer offered her services as a nanny, to which Stephen happily agreed.
In addition, Garner worked as a waitress in a New York restaurant. Elizabeth Banks also worked alongside her. Jennifer wasn’t letting her tough situation get her down, even though she had to sleep in a tiny kitchen, and her diet consisted mainly of spaghetti with butter. At least she was able to pay her rent and do what she loved.
“I really thought that was as good as it was going to get. I was completely and totally thrilled with that.” Everything changed overnight when Garner landed the lead role in the series Alias. She was able to leave her jobs as a nanny and waitress to pursue her career.
Garner believes that kindness can be shown in big ways but also with the little things.
Jennifer Garner has been able to achieve dizzying heights of success in her acting career, and she hasn’t had to think about paying her rent for a long time. However, she never forgets that some people face difficulties on the way to achieving their dreams. She is now a member of over 20 different charities, including Save the Children. Jennifer says, “I treat Save the Children like a job—and it’s a job I take as seriously as any job. I mean, how you do anything is how you do everything.”
Garner shows that charity isn’t necessarily about big donations and grand gestures but also about small acts of service. In her Instagram video, she put together a small bag of various little things for the homeless. It can be given to anyone in need, or simply left somewhere they will find it.
One time, while celebrating Valentine’s Day with her children and their classmates, Garner suggested that the kids put together food kits for the Blessings in a Backpack program. The kids were able to pack almost 400 edible gifts that were sent to Los Angeles.
And at her own 50th birthday party, the actress gave her guests an even bigger task and put everyone to work. Together, they prepared 5000 food kits for the same program.
Who from your loved ones supports you in pursuing your dreams?