Half a trillion spent on poverty, yet people are still poor according to this study.
When the War on Poverty was declared in 1966, my family was still classified as poor. Both my parents worked and raised six children, sending all to private schools. Thanks to their efforts today it is solidly middle class with several members reaching its upper part of the category.
My family did it without receiving government money. How?
1. Our parents sent us to college or helped us into solid vocations. Not all of my siblings are university educated, but they all had solid careers in professions such as nursing, teaching and the trades.
2. Our parents encouraged us find the right partner and to stay married – the single most effective way to stay out of poverty. Our parents taught us to value ourselves and to find partners who did the same. Of six children all have married partners with strong work ethics and ambition. Only 1 has divorced and it took nearly 20 years to overcome the financial impact of that divorce (she eventually married a fine man I’m honored to call my brother-in-law.)
3. Our parents instilled in us a sense of pride based on our work. It didn’t matter what that work was, as long as we stayed working and continued bettering ourselves by adding new skills and training. Even today one of the first questions asked is how are jobs are going. It may seem old fashioned, but to a family that skipped meals as late as the mid 1950’s – America’s Happy Days – one’s job is the best indicator of family health.
4. We were taught to forgo immediate gratification for longer-term benefits. This has driven many of our spouses to distraction numerous times, but the end result is that we are savers not spenders. All are thrifty to a fault, as one would expect from the children of those who came of age during the Great Depression.
5. We were raised with the philosophy that emphasized self-sufficiency. If we couldn’t do something, we often ended up learning to do it ourselves because there was nothing worse than having to rely upon someone else. Reliance easily became dependence which in turn became subservience, and both the Irish and the Bohemian sides of my family left servitude behind with the Old Country.