This post is going to offend someone most likely. However, my intent is to open a dialogue and gain a wider perspective on something that has been troubling me.
On Facebook, I have been seeing many different posts dedicated to raising the awareness of childhood poverty. I’m not sure I understand this. Why is it specifically childhood poverty? I don’t consider my daughter to be neither poor nor wealthy. My daughter does not have any assets, unless her doll house counts.
I’m not trying to make light of a very serious problem that affects approximately 22% of children in the United States. As I said before, I’m puzzled. Does citing poverty rates for families with the label of childhood poverty somehow provide us with a plan of action or a solution? I don’t think so. Please enlighten me if I’m missing something important here.
Isn’t this counterproductive? The focus should be on improving the situation of the parents, with improvements such as a living wage, or higher education that doesn’t incur lifelong debt for the recipient. Urging people to donate to help end childhood poverty isn’t a solution. This approach puts a band-aide on a hemorrhaging wound only to add another band-aide once the first proves ineffective at stopping the hemorrhage. As well-intentioned as this obviously is, we’re missing the mark.
When are we going to wake up? When are we going to quit throwing money at every problem? Why is our system so broken that meaningful, permanent solutions are things only heard of in fairytales?
Do I have an obtainable solution? No, I don’t. Do I expect any one person capable of producing a practical solution that could be implemented without in depth research? No, I don’t. But an open dialogue would be a positive step.
I am a strong believer in community specific solutions. What works in Detroit may not be a practical solution for Houston. But, a successful program in St. Louis could be something that also works for Kansas City or Chicago. My sense of social responsibility always starts with my own community. I think solutions should start in individual communities, too.
I wonder if reducing the cost of higher education is something that will ever happen in my lifetime. I also wonder if that would make any difference in poverty rates.