“They are like straw before the wind, and like chaff that a storm carries away” (Job 21: 18).
Often, those of us not raised in dire poverty fail to understand the chaos of that environment.
The electricity is turned off, and homework is not done. The ceiling falls in, literally. The grocery bag rips, the eggs smash, and there is no dinner. Children sleep in the bathtub as their only defense against drive-by shootings. An intoxicated neighbor sets the house on fire. An argument over sneakers escalates into a shooting. Police arrest a parent, and the children go into foster care.
No Safety Nets
There are no safety nets. There are no margins for error. What to the rest of us might be an inconvenience, at worst a minor hardship, can be devastating to the poor. Progress is impossible. A youthful indiscretion may cost a life.
Is there any wonder that long range consequences are imperfectly understood? These children have not been in a position to predict from one hour to the next what may befall them.
Disappointed and Discouraged
Children in poverty face constant disappointment, and daily discouragement from the adults around them. Promises must be broken again and again. Some of the criticism may actually be an attempt by adults to protect their children against the bias they are expected to face. Underachievement is perceived as “safer” than success. Continue reading