I'm always looking for the most simple example to explain a point when dealing with the families I mentor.
The most common mistake made by mothers (or grandmothers) who are the primary breadwinners of their families is that many tend to allow their children (or grandchildren) to remain within the safety of the home for far too long.
Many of these mothers seem to coddle their children to the point of societal retardation.
When did families stop teaching their children the necessary skills for a productive life?
When did women forget how to cook, sew or clean?
When did men forget how to build, repair or maintain?
This past week I was surprised that it was me who had to teach a group of boys how to mend ripped seams in their pants, replace buttons on shirts, and convert long pants into shorts.
"I don't have anything to wear." was one boy's excuse for not making it to school on a regular basis.
Sure, I could have given him the lecture about school being for ones intellectual edification and not so one could parade around as if on a catwalk.
But this is a different generation.
My first stop was to see what the kid was working with.
He had the usual mix of ripped jeans, old T's, and a few faded Polo brand shirts.
Most of the kid's long pants were too short but were easily converted into long shorts.
Most of the faded Polo shirts and stained T's were easily dyed.
Most of the Jordan's and Forces were easily washed in a regular washing machine and allowed to air dry (as not to ruin the glue which hold the shoes together) and came out looking just slightly less than brand new. (A Sharpie was used to color in any unsightly blemishes).
When other children saw how ones old wardrobe could be extended - I was in the middle of a full-scale sewing circle.
When did poor people stop knowing how to be poor?
In the top image above; A fully functional family is able to teach and nurture it's young in proportion to a child's age and abilities.
As the child ages his level of consumption dwindles as his level of contribution grows.
In this model the family's resources (represented by the whole of the four rectangles) are more than enough to accommodate any challenges they may encounter in life.
In this model the next generation is prepared to take care of it's own progeny.
If repeated, this model allows for the generational accumulation of wealth.
In the bottom image the problems (consumption) far outweigh the family's resources (contributions).
But this is often the model practiced by many single mothers today.
Many single mothers ignore the fact that as a child grows - so do his problems.
If not put on the correct trajectory at an early age the consumption of resources wipes out all that a parent (or grandparent) has accumulated in their lifetime.
This also leads to the primary breadwinner being responsible for even the next generation.
This model leads to generation after generation of poverty.