Category Archives: Children and poverty

Supression of Chinese Dissidents and Activists

The suppression of the blind Chinese activist is just one of a hundred thousand incidents per year.  China is a repressive country trying to mask itself as a modern society.  No centrally planned, code word for socialism, economy has ever prospered for an extended period of time.  You cannot manage a billion people and hundreds of billions of activities.

The pot of water is one stove, the water is boiling and the problems inside of China will become visible to the world.

Check out Push Back, my latest novel, where the recent case of the blind activist mirrors what a main character, Timothy Lee does.

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Filed under Children and poverty, criticism, improvement, integrity, productivity, self esteem, success

Social Science Experiment Is Over

Somewhere along the way we lost ourselves. We no longer demanded that you act responsibly, work and civilly participate in society.

No One to Blame but Ourselves

We looked the other way, selfishly enjoying ourselves, while ignoring our responsibilities to parent and teach.  We didn’t set expectations for those dependent on us and attempt to manage the results.  We needed to instill core family values and discipline them, instead, we threw money at problems and poverty and went our merry way. You see it is much harder to do the tough work to form behaviors than to buy them and our conscious off.

We gave things without requiring anything for it.  They had no skin in the game, why are we surprised they feel entitled?

Different kind of Ellis Island

We also compounded our problems with newer immigrants.

What a difference a generation makes!  When millions flocked to our shores for a better life, they toiled hard at work and even harder at becoming Americans.  They learned the language and assimilated quickly.  It was not an abdication of who they were, they still practice their customs and cultures, but realized and desired to be a part of something bigger – AMERICA!  Their contributions are legendary and a reason prospered into a beacon for the underclass around the world.

Newcomers to America are accommodated to such a large degree that they have no incentive to learn English and integrate into our society and culture.  Thinking we’d make it easier for them led to neighborhoods filled with signage in other languages and children unable to learn in school because they didn’t know English, resulting in tremendous disaffection.  (Interestingly, Arizona, now maligned for its immigration policy, actually mandated that children be taught in their native language and ‘imported’ Spanish speaking teachers from Mexico!  It proved to be a colossal failure as Spanish speaking children performed even more poorly.)

Disastrous Results

This disaffection and resentment manifested itself in many ways but some recent events like the riots in England are ringing alarm bells.   In short, we need to turn course quickly in order to have a chance at changing the tide.

In order for a democracy to survive and prosper it needs the far majority of its people participating.  We cannot have the outrageous amounts of folks we have now living off the government!  Fiscal disaster that it is, it is just not sustainable for democracy.

We must make the distinction between those who are unable to take care of themselves and those who are simply unwilling.  Safety nets for legitimate, verifiable reasons should be maintained.  Other programs dealing with poverty must be managed with an eye to outcomes.  If it does not change behavior, leading to independence, it should be changed until it does.  If you get something (Sickness and aged etc aside) from the government or society you should be required to do something. Is there a legitimate reason, that those getting a year or two of unemployment checks not be required to gain a new skill to be employed (or clean a park?) as a condition of getting the check?

Nothing less than the very fabric of our society is at stake.  We need ideas and action now!

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Filed under Blog, Children and poverty, integrity, pride, success

Cycle of Poverty Destroys Self Esteem in Children

Break the children poverty cycle and strengthen self esteem. We need a fresh approach on a subject with big upside on a humanitarian and economic basis.

A prior post cited the depressing stats the impact the current state of economic affairs is having on many children & families.   http://danpetrosini.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/children-at-risk/

Worse than it seems

The problem is much bigger than it seems.  The impact dramatically multiplies as over time these children have their own children who are likely to get stuck in a cycle of poverty and dependency.

It’s a complicated issue that’s been with us for decades.  Unfortunately, the many programs the government created have done nothing to slow its growth, in fact the problem has increased, despite of their efforts.

Corrosive to Self Esteem

The government’s and some well intended organizations approach is dead wrong. Providing shelter and food, while worthwhile endeavors in the short term, actually breed a mentality that support comes from the outside.

A life of dependency leaves no room for a healthy self esteem.  In order to feel good about yourself and face life’s challenges confidently you must learn to stand on your own two feet.

Radical Solution?

A successful approach is one where assistance has strings attached.  Rather than a pure hand out, connect positive actions to continued support! Is that radical??

Why does the government hand out 99 weeks of unemployment without requiring the people to do something!  If some of the unemployed have outdated or poor skills, require them to take training to upgrade or acquire a skill.  Why not??? Nothing else is working!

Examples the Current approach does not work

When Welfare for Work (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act) was introduced, (requiring recipients to work and capping benefits at five years etc..) poverty and welfare rates DROPPED!

Larry Summers, the former economic adviser to Obama, studied unemployment http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Unemployment.html : proving that long term unemployment benefits actually INCREASE the unemployment rate.  Wish he’d said something while at the White House!

Solutions?

This is a giant complex problem that a single solution cannot address.  It is easier but expensive, to just provide benefits to people in need and feel we are doing something.   Its simply not effective.

Truly helping the people who need it and are caught in a cycle of poverty and welfare is hard work.  It involves changing ingrained behaviors and building self esteem.  Not easy, ask any parent!

Approach is Critical

The task can seem overwhelming, discouraging attempts to do something.

We need to approach it by realizing that if we change one life, its a huge victory, with the bonus its saving their offspring and their offspring etc!

The types of agendas I suggest require intensive, comprehensive programs to change ingrained behavior.  Most of the people with dependent lives did not have the benefit of support (parents, families).  We need to teach them the set of life skills they need to be independent productive citizens.

It isn’t cheap but the alternative cost is much higher.  If you can’t justify it on a moral basis (I had to work etc…) think of it on an economical basis.

I recognize this is complicated issue with various roots of cause, but we must start somewhere and chip away at this critical problem.

Here is a link to Manna House, a local grassroots organization making an impact along these lines.

http://mannahouseonline.com/

(Does this ring a bell? – You can give someone fish or teach them how to fish)

Love to hear from you on it!

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Filed under Blog, Children and poverty