Poor Kids

Recently on PBS Frontline a show aired about poor kids in America. It was disturbing and affected me deeply on a lot of different levels.

It was hard to wrap my head around the fact that the US ranksĀ 4th in childhood poverty of the developed countries. That would have been a good topic for debate in our recent election…

It got me thinking about my childhood, current economics and how being poor now seems different. In my case my parents were directly affected by the depression and therefore acquired skills that seem to be lacking in today’s world.

I was never hungry for lack of food growing up but do remember powdered milk and a lot of baloney sandwiches on cheap bread. Menu planning was an art and meals were carefully planned around sales and stretched so that nothing was wasted. It was hard for the dog to get any scraps.

In the program some of the food choices of stressed parents fell into the category of cheap nutrition deficient convenience food such as cardboard like microwave pizza. Heartbreaking was the kids awareness of their situation and their comments.

Paraphrased comments:

“We don’t get three meals a day”
“Unhealthy food makes you fat”
“This could happen to anybody even you”
“I have nothing going for me”

I know I wasn’t as aware of economic issues as these kids are.

Something is wrong if it is cheaper to buy a fast food hamburger for a dollar or less but an apple or other fruit costs more. Or that our mainstream media focuses on the latest electronic gadgets but ignores poverty issues especially since now 47 million Americans receive food stamps.

It seems that old support structures of family and extended family is broken for an awful lot of people. Our country is broke and more and more austerity across the board seems inevitable.

You might wonder how long this go can go on before it causes tremendous social upheaval and change?

I do and expect a very different future coming done the pipe. I think people are and will create alternative economic communities based local and more in harmony with our remaining natural resources. A natural rhythm of balance and grace like the four seasons – each offering positive and negative qualities.

One concept of balanced thought is the Chinese idea of Five Elements. It inspired this video.

What do you think?

Poor Kids – PBS Frontline