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Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty

15 October 2008

Well, bother. In making my blog rounds this morning, I noticed today is Blog Action Day. I had no idea.

This year’s theme is Poverty. Now, since I haven’t had any time to prepare a fabulous and thought-provoking post on this topic, I’m going to just wing it. Here goes:

I want to talk about poverty right here in the United States. In fact, I want to talk about children who have had no chance to make it, because they have been born into poverty.

Recent studies have proven that a few simple changes in the lives of 0- to 3-year-olds can provide significant differences to their ability to get and hold on to better jobs later in life. How simple? This simple: reading to infants; speaking directly to them; offering positive reinforcement of good behavior. That’s it. That’s really it. It’s a radical shift from the job training programs that most social programs focus on with our tax dollars. If you have about half an hour that you can spend near your computer (if you have a laptop, all the better: you can listen to this while preparing supper, knitting, or even cleaning up), then I highly recommend listening to Act One (“Harlem Renaissance”) of the following This American Life episode.

Going Big

It’s worth it.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 16 October 2008 1:15 pm

    Thanks for this post. I haven’t listened to that This American Life episode yet but I am hoping to do so tonight. I’m surprised that those three things even need to be mentioned. I mean, I have never heard before that those three simple things can make a huge difference in a childs life but it is interesting to hear that they actually need to be mentioned – which makes me think that there must be a significant number of children out there who aren’t getting those three things? People keep wanting to buy Moira “stuff” and toys and I am trying to curb their enthusiasm – sometimes they point out that she doesn’t have much stuff (although I think she does) and I say “but she has ME – all day long! All my attention!” Which I think makes us both very lucky.

  2. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    17 October 2008 11:04 am

    The thing is that middle class parents read all this baby development stuff, but no one ever takes the time to tell poorer people. So they are still raising their children the “old fashined” way. And they don’t think to talk to their babies. This creates a gap that is not easily (if even possible) filled later in life.

    I hope you have a chance to listen to the story!

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