Several years ago, I wrote an article for Liberal America about this topic. I think it’s worth putting out there again because this issue is not only still relevant, but it’s more relevant than ever before. Will it ever get better? I don’t know. I just know that if more people are aware of some of these things, maybe they can find some way to help. No matter how small the gesture, anything you can do to help a child (and/or their parent) find any amount of relief can make a difference. There are lots of ways you can help and anything can be beneficial.
Maybe you’re the parent who can buy double the allotted school supplies and ask your child’s teacher to give them to a child in need. Or maybe you’re the parent who can afford to buy just one extra box of colored pencils. The first one is a grand gesture, but the second is equally important. Just imagine if every parent made this effort.
To write this article, I pulled from my 15 years of working with at-risk youth. One book that helped me a lot during that time was “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. I also did a questionnaire on one of our Facebook pages to let our readers contribute.
One thing I know for certain is that children living in poverty are resourceful. They may not have money and “stuff” but they learn life skills that many people never have to learn. In the best scenarios, this gives children tools that will help them hack life. They also learn to think creatively. However, that’s the best scenario. There are darker scenarios that we also all know about.
To research for this article, I also drew from my own experiences with raising children as a single mom. Here is one anecdote from my own life, but most importantly, from my daughter’s life.
The thing is, what is a quick temporary fix for many families (cardboard to cover a broken window) is frequently a permanent fix for people who live in poverty. In our case, the window stayed covered with cardboard and plastic until the day my father noticed it when he visited. He fixed it for us.
Here are some things that only poor kids know.
87 Things Only Poor Children Know
In whatever way you can, please try to make a difference in the life of a child you know.