It isn’t money that is missing from the fight on poverty. It is time. Time from people willing to mentor and time from those in poverty willing to listen. We are all a product of being helped to become self-sufficient. The guidance usually comes from loving mothers and fathers. Many people become self-sufficient without loving relatives to teach them, but the route is harder. But no one makes it without help, instruction, advice, and key mentors along the way. There is just too much to learn about money, spending, budgeting, saving, debt avoidance, hard work, attitude, personal hygiene, interviewing, job skills, career paths, personal interests, personal skills, education, study skills, testing skills, government programs, child rearing, child education, etc., etc., etc.
Mentoring is important, but equally important is encouragement, interaction and involving the poor in community – in other words, friendship. People need to hear they are important, that they matter, that their effort is appreciated, that we know what they are up against and that we are pulling for their success.
A Handbok of Charity Organization published in 1882[i] put it this way: "We hold that the chief need of the poor to-day is not alms giving, but the moral support of true friendship …"
Well put – the moral support of true friendship isn’t talked about much in the poverty debate. Perhaps it should be.
[i] Stephen Humphreys Gurteen. A Handbok on Charity Organization. Published by the author, 1882. Republished by Bibliolife, LLC.