I started with this link because it’s important. You’ll see it a number of times throughout this post.
The title talks about poverty…so that immediately makes people not read this post. So for all the people who need to read this and didn’t, report in another title or send it to them.
Let’s start simple with a story: I’m 5 and my 4 parents (mom and her new boyfriend, dad and his new girlfriend) are my examples of life. When they get mad they are violent. When they are happy they use substances such as alcohol, drugs, etc. The rich people in my neighborhood are the ones that deal drugs, con people out of money, sell their stuff, or have their tax return. Violence and drugs are a normal sight for me to see. All of my parents either barely graduated hs or got a GED later on. My dad and “step dad” are always looking for jobs. My mom and step mom work at call centers or grocery stores. I constantly heat how unfair it is for people like “us”, and if we had money like the other people, our life would be better. My skin color comes up a lot is conversation and is an explanation for why we live like this, or why we don’t. Everyone is on government help.
The way I’ve learned to speak to others is in a harsh matter-of-fact way. If I have a conflict, the louder or more violent a person acts – wins the dispute. If we have a conversation, it’s loud and somebody often just walks away from you. As a 5 year old, I’m told not to hang out with adults…I have to “go play”. At school, people tease me because I don’t have the right stuff, phone, clothes, or know about the cool things. I’ve never been in after school care or learned a lot of the games and songs, but when I was in after school care I got kicked out because I didn’t act right…but I acted like everyone around me. Very Confusing.
Will this 5 year old have the drive for education? Probably not.
With this 5 year old have the skills necessary for him to ask for what he wants? Probably not.
Will this 5 year old see money as the way to happiness? Probably.
Will this 5 year old see authority figures as people to respect and uphold? Probably not.
Will this 5 year old know how to negotiate a conversation or a job interview? Probably not?
Will this 5 year old learn how to create a business other than an illegal business? Probably not.
This is the main problem of poverty. The youth being born into this world are not prepared, helped, or groomed to be anything but the people they see around them all the time. They are being groomed to live in poverty. Even if they want to get out, and earnestly try…they don’t have the skills to do it. Also, the ways most of these kids learn the skills they need to live in a non-poverty world is by trial and error. The rags to riches stories we hear about people pulling themselves out of poverty is because there was someone, some program, or some talent that was helped, fostered, and groomed at some point in their life.
This is the reason after school programs, rec center programs, and programs that go into these neighborhoods and expose these children to something different is so important! However, these are also the first programs to be CUT. CHOPPED, LIQUIDATED, DEFUNDED, UNFUNDED, AND ELIMINATED.
How can I speak about this? This is where I grew up. I went through the trial and errors…learning that this behavior was wrong, this behavior was acceptable, and this one was not. I wasn’t deterred by people making fun of my jeans with patches on the knees, the lack of a game system at 5, 10, 16. lack of a car, lack of school supplies unless they were donated, give away clothes as my normal wardrobe, and the general belief that this was the only life available to me.
So now back to the link I’ve been posting on here again and again. It’s maps…maps of the LARGE amount of poor and poverty that exists in our nation. Sadly, the gap between the haves and the have nots is becoming very very wide…not because it’s the “man” trying to “keep people down”, nor is it because “people just want to live off the government”…it’s because we are being taught that this is the only life they see that is available to them.
We need to do something! We need to start helping people front porch style. We need to reinvent the old “grandma” or “autie” person that taught us about what we could do and what we could become. We need to reinvent the rec center…not as a place to jump the fence and play basketball or handball or soccer, but really make it part of the community. Get people to come in there for free and speak about what the people can do, can be, and can become.
You are those people. You are the people who can create this change. You are the people who can go into these neighborhoods and say…let’s do more. It happens and it has happened in many many neighborhoods and communities.
There was a man who decided that Harlem was better than it is portrayed. He reinvented the rec centers, then the streets, then the schools, then the parents, then the kids, and now…the Harlem project is a brand new way of thinking about kids, poverty, and people.
We need to stop seeing poverty as a problem for the people in poverty…and start seeing it as a world wide problem.
Look at this link…look at your own city…it’s more of a problem than anyone wants to realize!!!
Chad Herman motivational speaker