A poverty of isolation entraps too many Georgia children

A past contributor to the Get Schooled blog, Tyler S. Thigpen is a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A co-founder of Transforming Teaching, Thigpen is the former head of the upper school at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta, a co-founder of Chattahoochee Hills Charter School in southwest Atlanta, and a former Spanish teacher in Gwinnett.

He also is minister at a local Atlanta church and led international development in Peru in healthcare, education, poverty reduction, infrastructure and human rights. A husband and father of four, he holds a mid-career master’s of public administration from the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government and a master’s of theological studies from Regent College of the University of British Columbia. Follow him on Twitter: @tylerthigpen.

By Tyler S. Thigpen

One evening, not long ago, I was waiting at the bus stop outside a grocery store near our home, when I heard the woman standing next to me yelling into her phone. She was clearly angry, upset and stressed out. I didn’t know her, so I’ll call her Mary.

It probably wasn’t my business, but I couldn’t help but overhear. Mary was a single mom with a long commute. She had a sick child who had been waiting in the nurse’s office at school since 9 that morning, and she had been stuck at work.

Her boss threatened to fire Mary if she left work early — even though her boss had taken the exact same liberty the week before. On the phone, Mary cried she had no one to pick up her daughter.

I saw Mary again a week later on the same bus. She had her two children with her, adorable 3-year-old twin girls. I thought of my own four young children as I tried to imagine what it was like for that 3-year-old, stuck feeling unwell at school without her mom or anyone else to get her home and into bed.

And it made me wonder, why do some families have to suffer these frustrations and heartaches? Who is ultimately responsible for making sure that children like Mary’s get the support they need?

Like anywhere else, leaders at the school and district levels in Georgia are strapped for resources. Elected officials’ plates are fuller than with education alone. Philanthropic organizations often focus narrowly on expected outcomes for segmented populations. Families are the traditional basic unit of child-rearing, and are naturally their children’s primary caregivers. But due to a number of complex pressures today, some families do not have the flexibility, resources, or community networks to let their children be children.

Thus, as a society, we reached a point where we accept, tacitly or not, that the responsibility of fully preparing all youth falls on the shoulders of no one. Too often we hear that problems such as Mary’s are none of our business and certainly not our responsibility.

The result is that too many kids fall through the cracks. It’s not necessarily that these children lack money or access to opportunities or education, though those are major contributors. The bigger challenge is some children are alone. They suffer from a poverty of isolation.

Now, I’m a big-picture thinker person. I like to envision “what if” scenarios, kind of like movie promos that start with “in a world…”

No hedSo these questions came to mind: what if there was a group who reached out and shouldered the responsibility of supporting and protecting all children? What if there was a group that picked up where school leaders, city officials, philanthropists and even families left off by generating a web of caring relationships?

This made me think of when I was 12, and my parents told me if I wanted a car when I turned 16, I’d have to pay for it. So I started a little business in Tucker: Executive Lawn Care. I mowed dozens of lawns in the neighborhood over the next four years.

Just before my 16th birthday, I had enough money to buy my first car: a 1989 black Chevy Blazer — hands down, the best car I ever owned.

The way I saw it, I worked hard and sacrificed a lot of time. And now I enjoy working outside, I appreciate delayed gratification, and I’m comfortable tackling big projects. I am forever grateful to my parents for forcing me to be resourceful during that formative experience.

But there’s another way of looking at that story. The above is all true…and also a lot of people created opportunities that enabled me to be successful.

My parents loaned me their lawn mower. My neighbors gave an inexperienced middle-school kid their business over a professional landscaping company. My cousin drove me around in his minivan so I could expand my business. My grandfather counseled me on opening a bank account and saving money. All kinds of people helped me succeed with Executive Lawn Care and all the lessons it taught me.

What I’ve described is what researchers call social capital: the measure of our connections with others, the amount of emotional and practical support, of trust and help, that emerges from caring relationships. This was one of the many privileges I had growing up. In a world of well-developed social capital, I had a strong network — I had a community.

A large proportion of Georgia’s kids right now have just enough social capital to stay off the radar of the Department of Family and Children Services and Georgia Foster Care and Adoption. But they don’t have enough to be in a position to go after the same kinds of successes that I did.

Who are these kids? Some of them are among the 28 percent of children in Georgia — or the 40 percent in Atlanta — not graduating from high school each year. Or the 40 percent of young adults who have attended, but haven’t, graduated from college. Some are among the 40 percent of children in our state living in single-parent households, or the 5 percent living in a family with no parent at all.

2013 national report revealed Georgia is ranked among the bottom half, and often the bottom third, for all major civic health indicators (engagement in local institutions, politics, etc.), and almost all social-connectedness indicators (relationships among friends, neighbors, etc.) among millennials and low-income populations.

One exception is expressing opinions about community or political issues online, where we ranked sixth. Communities throughout Georgia may be poor in dollars, but rich in culture and relationships — and vice-versa. By my estimation, we already have more than enough of the resources we need to bridge the social-connectedness gap, especially as it pertains to the well-being of our children.

Here’s an example of how this might work. If you’re a high school freshman in Baltimore and you fail half or more of your classes, you qualify for programming by a nonprofit called Thread, which surrounds these students with four or five volunteer mentors who commit to seeing you throughout your high school career.

Thread, founded in 2004, has consistently achieved a 100-percent high school graduation success rate, 100-percent college acceptance rate, 92-percent college enrollment rate, and 83-percent college graduation rate — higher than the national average among all ethnic groups.

Even better, volunteers at Thread report being inspired by seeing positive changes in the lives of their students. They report that they learn just as much, if not more, from their students, that the volunteer work is sustainable because they can act as a team.

Could a program like Thread’s work in Georgia? Their approach is relatively uncomplicated — and it speaks to the strength of this type of intervention needed for some students to be successful beyond high school.

There are already great mentoring programs and adult-youth partnerships here in Georgia — Big Brother Big Sister, Just Us Girls, 100 Black Men, Reach GA, and many others — which can fit the bill on a short-term basis.

But some kids need longer-term support networks, relationships with trusted adults who will simply answer the phone or provide a ride to school, or sit down and do algebra or English homework with them.

The biggest downside of the poverty of isolation — when Mary’s children are stuck in a nurse’s office, feeling lost or forgotten — is that too many children grow up unable to offer their fullest potential, which is ultimately our loss. We don’t get to hear their ideas, their feelings, their dreams, their contributions to a better world.

It’s not too late. What if we used Georgia’s abundance of social capital to usher the newest generation of children to succeed? Because in a world where children feel fully supported, we ensure a better future for ourselves, too.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

68 comments
Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Mandatory birth control for welfare recipients would go a long way to fixing many of these issues.  Also, not a dime of public assistance to the "baby mama"  until she names the father.  That is the only way to break this cycle of dependency

CSpinks
CSpinks

A reason that the poverty of isolation entraps too many of our kids is the weakening of personal reproductive and personal child-rearing responsibilities among too many of Georgia's sexually mature males and females.

Solving the problem of childhood isolation is contingent, to a large extent, upon our solving these two problems of dereliction.

How we solve these three problems must become the focus of reasoned, respectful discussion, and determined action.  The futures of too many of our kids depend upon our so doing.


How do we solve these three problems?


Your thoughts?

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

From the harsh language towards unwed motherhood and its possible detrimental effects on children, I am sure all those invective dispensers would be in favor of a rigorous, well planned sex education program for all public school students complete with free access to contraceptives.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@AvgGeorgian Along with a new method to temporarily sterilize young men, or render them unable to participate in sex at all! (Young men=under 70, unless married to the woman)

class80olddog
class80olddog

@AvgGeorgian Free access to contraception is already available at Planned Parenthood providers.  I am in favor of more passive contraception such as Norplant and IUDs.  That won't protect against disease, but if the participants are too dumb to use a condom, they deserve what they get.  When you start handing out contraception in schools, you get into all sorts of parenthood issues - same as teaching religion.  I am in favor of a good, fact-based sex education program that teaches more than just abstinence, but also details the negatives of pregnancy outside of a stable two-parent model.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Wascatlady @AvgGeorgian That would be great - like a IUD for men!  Not sure why you put in the part about participate in sex - I would never say that about women - for example, just sew it shut, sounds like you are just mad at men.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Wascatlady @class80olddog @AvgGeorgian Believe me, I am mad about men who use and leave the women and I am fully in favor of tracking them down and garnishing their wages for child support for 18 years - plus they should be made to do parenting duty. Maybe then they would CARE about birth control.  But the way it is now, WOMEN bear all the burdens of the sex and men get a free "ride". 

anothercomment
anothercomment

My Freshman daughter told me today that one religious zealot mother ( parents) won't even allow a child to bring in the women's health or ( men's health mag for boys) for a lit. Class assignment. So we are going to collect the out of date free issues my friend gets at her hair salon for the class to use. This family already forced their teenage son to marry the girl he got pregnant. Now the father complains that the married kid is underage drinking, and they the grandparent constantly have the baby.

Intteach
Intteach

What is it with the stigmatization of single mothers? It is not a new phenomenon, women have raised children forever by themselves due to circumstances. My grandfathers both died in the war, never knew them, my father passed away when I was a young child and my mother raised us just fine. Was it easy? No. She had my grandmother to depend on for many years. I cannot say that I am traumatized because I grew up without a father. I admire her for the strength she taught us children to never ever give up, never to mess with drugs but to take advantage of education. Both of my mother's children live happily with kids, still married to their first spouses of 20+ years. Single mother does not equal promiscuity nor bad parenting. If you consider yourself the least bit educated, Christian or compassionate then you owe it to yourself to give single mothers the benefit of the doubt. People like to bash single mothers even more than teachers! Now single parents are increasing in Europe as well; The difference is that the safety net takes care of some the issues single mothers encounter. They would not have to fear to lose their job because their child is sick.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@Intteach Right - because there is no differentiation between "single mothers who tragically ended up there through no fault of their own decisions" from those who "choose to become single moms - either intentionally or because of not doing anything to stop pregnancy".  


But keep trying to use those few moms who heroically persevere and raise their kids, to cover for those who either intentionally or carelessly bring kids into a fatherless environment.  I'm sure that will really comfort the millions of kids who are wondering who their dad is - and dealing with the massive challenges of being raised by a single mom - through no fault of their own.


Oh but wait - since Murhpy Brown said it was OK, I'm sure these kids aren't really facing any actual challenges (sarcasm)......sick.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Intteach dcdcdc has it right - there is a lot of difference between the widow and the 18-year-old who gets pregnant either on purpose or by accident with zero thought about how they will take care of the child.  For a while I was a single dad (widower) and got by with help from friends and family.  I recall an instance when I was late picking up my son from daycare because of a business meeting that ran long.  I was highly apologetic and offered to pay any additional penalty fees - gladly.  They waived the fees because they said they were there only for the ones who abused the system - picking up their children late all the time.

Women, especially young girls, need to understand that the decision to have even ONE child is a major 18-year commitment.  Having more kids is a HUGE undertaking.  Of course, it is a per peeve of mine how easily males get off the hook for their "one-night adventures".  I constantly reminded the sons about the price that one indiscretion could cost them - 18 years of child support at a minimum.  Even THAT does not help with the sick kid at school.  They should be made to share in THOSE duties, also. 

Agast
Agast

Wow, I just experienced this poverty first hand this weekend. My wife and I took care of some children because their single parent had emergency surgery. It became clear to us that the parent is on the  rope with their finances, their job, their world, and it has an impact on the beautiful children. The lack of stability in the parents life shows loud and clear through the children. It was heart breaking to experience, and then I read the article by happenstance. What timing after having my eyes opened to this issue. 


I would suggest to any single parent, for the sake of their children, to attend a local church, even if you don't "believe" in God. We took the children to church. They were surrounded by love. It is here they can develop social capital and meet people of all generations who can love, help, council, nurture and guide them. It dawned to me that this is something the government can't do or do well. I have been upset with the way the government has/is taking control of the things that were historically the church's domain - hospitals, schools, orphanages and social programs. This is a great calling for the church. And if we are against abortion, to love and reach out to the broken family and support them is our only response. 


To the single parent with children, you will find many churches with open arms and a congregation praying for an opportunity to serve in some capacity. And don't forget, there are sinners and other people with issues in these churches. Try to be kind to them even if they give you a hard time. You never know what sharp object is in their eye. They have their own sin issues to work out with God.

By the way, I am a member of  Peachtree Christian Church on Peachtree and Spring St. in Midtown. You are welcome to join us. 


Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Agast Your story reminds me of a conference I participated in 5 years ago.  We asked the (single) mother to tell us when she could come in.  She set,and broke, the appointment 4 times before coming in. Her story unfolded this way: She dropped out of middle school when she became pregnant at 13.  She can barely read.  She had 4 children ages 4 months-9 years by 3 different men, and had to move back home (with the parents who had failed her) when the latest daddy left.  We  heard all of this as she told us why she was unable to help her kids.  She had to get a ride, not because she had no car (she didn't)  but she had never passed the driving test because she could not read well enough.


Her son was in the class I pushed into, and was a clean, affable kid.  He had no real obvious strengths (was below grade level) but he worked hard sometimes.  I learned a lot that day.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Agast Glad to hear someone singing the praises of their congregation!  That is a great testimony to the people with whom you worship.   What I have seen a lot of is people getting angry because parents drop their kids off at church and expect someone to take care of them, or people who complain about the kid in Sunday School class whose mother never taught him how to behave.


But then I have also seen folks going out of their way to pick up kids for youth group or Sunday school.  Not sure how much other help the parent gets, but there are some groups that are welcoming and supportive, IF they feel like the mother is making a big effort to make a go of it.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Wascatlady @Agast So she got pregnant at 13 (mistake number 1) then dropped out of school (mistake #2) then repeated the mistake three more times?  And she could not figure this out? 

anothercomment
anothercomment

I Am sorry but absolutely no child should be allowed to keep a child she is pregnant with at 13. I am Catholic and I told my children you have these choices if you come home Pregnant before you graduate from high school ( I also put them on the pill at 14 for acne and period regulation you now get 4 a year) :

1:) Abortion

2:) Adoption

3.) Mommy will legally adopt the child and it will be your sibling, not your child. But my child. I don't play babysitter for a few years.

Agast
Agast

I think the point of the article is to recognize these single parents have a tough life and we should seek ways to help the children who are victims of a lifestyle that they didn't choose. As we say around the house, life is hard. It is even harder when you are stupid. We all know this is true, so my suggestion is to encourage ( and help) the parent to be smart and go to a church on a regular basis.

The article is about improving a child's social capital and improving their education. I am suggesting a church is the best ( and free) place to go.

An American Patriot
An American Patriot

@Wascatlady @Agast Again, this is the PLAN......."keep 'em dumb", that way they can't read/write, get a job so they're dependent on government assistance.  Who are they going to vote for.......why, the party who gives them things from cradle to crave.....c'mon, it's not that hard to figure out.  The democratic party has no interest whatsoever in solving this problem.  They have an endless supply of voters who will vote for them.  LBJ said it, started it and now it's killing our country.

class80olddog
class80olddog

It is too bad that we cannot make passive birth control mandatory after age 10 and can only be released after taking parenthood training.

class80olddog
class80olddog

What options do we have when there is not a family to take care of a sick kid at school?  Some on here would saddle the school with providing a hospital care in the school and staff to support it (sort of like we do with SPED kids). More tax money taken away from instruction and more responsibility on the school to do EVERYTHING because the parents will do NOTHING.  If you are going to do this, why not just sterilize the parents, and then take their kids away from them and put them in an orphanage! 

anothercomment
anothercomment

they use to do that in the 50's and 60's even. A white friend of mine was one of seven kids taken away from their parents by the State of West Virginia for being too poor in the 60's. After that her parents who were married just went and had two more kids.

class80olddog
class80olddog

This is a complex problem rooted in the culture change over the last 50 years.  In my parents' day, the norm was that the dad worked and the mom took care of the children - there was always someone there to go get the sick child.  Now, most families are two-income.  That still is not unmanageable if there are two parents and, say, only two children.  The odds are that one or both will not be sick that often, so MOST employers are willing to work with you on RARE occasions.  If you have more than two kids, the cost of child care is almost not worth it unless both spouses have very high-paying jobs.  It is more reasonable to have one parent be the stay-at-home parent.

The real issues come when have very young single mothers, never married, no father ever around and no support from them, and no outside support system such as parents and grandparents.  Also, if they have a poor work history anyway, such as being late and missing work when NOT an emergency, then bosses tend to be less understanding about the occasional sick kid.  Too many young people don't have the slightest clue about what it takes to successfully raise a child.  Often a girl really wants a baby, but when the child hits about 10 years old, then they aren't as much fun.  This has devastated our culture.

The decrease in single motherhood has come about, I am sure, by better birth control methods.  Unfortunately, it is still WAY too high and clumped in certain areas.  Look at your failing school systems and I think you will notice a correlation with high rates of single parenthood.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

This is so much like other "noble ideas" - it sounds awesome.  And in general, it doesn't work very well in real life.  (cue the 10 examples of where it has throughout history...as if a pitiful number of these somehow overcomes the sad reality that in general it doesn't).  


And what we've found is that, once it becomes "society's" responsibility to take care of "the children", the reality is that no one does.  The kids are left basically to fend for themselves for one simple reason - everyone is so buried taking care of their own life and family, that it's impossible to care for millions of "someone else's kids" as well.


Parents are the ones most motivated to take care of their own kids.  And for the small number who abdicate this role, adoption out of their care is a good solution (gasp....that's so cruel!! - seriously?  you'd prefer to keep the kids stuck in this situation??)


Now, that being said, there are clearly innovative schooling models that could help the "Mary's" of the world - longer school hours, year round schooling, etc.  But that would require (gasp!) dramatically changing the way we provide schooling.  And Maureen's minions in the eduacracy will never allow that to happen. 


They'd much rather just blame others, and make it someone else's issue - when the reality is that schools are without question best suited to deal with this issue.

Astropig
Astropig

@dcdcdc


" in general, it doesn't work very well in real life."


Indeed it doesn't. In the old Soviet Union, childcare and medical care and every other care you can imagine was a guaranteed by- law -and- constitution right -and it was backed up with guns and people that weren't afraid to use them.But anybody that has been there will tell you that it was a nightmare for kids,the illegitimacy rate was astronomical and dad was pickled in vodka 7 days out of 7.Married mothers in many cases were functionally single.That regime had the kind of power that the libs here can only dream of and the same problems held forth (and do to this day) because the state is a terrible substitute for a pair of loving,committed parents.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@Astropig @dcdcdc You actually don't have to look that far to see the incredibly disastrous results of "caring" govt programs on entire segments of our society.  The seeds for the incredible destruction of the black community in the US were sowed In the 60's when the Dem "Great Society" took over from the black father any responsibility for providing for their families - and replaced him with Big Govt.  The numbers since then are irrefutable - unless someone is blindly partisan.


Men throughout eternity have needed to be needed.  Once the govt made the poor black father/husband not only superfluous, but in fact a negative (the mom got LESS welfare if he stayed around), then it was only a matter of time before he quit caring for others.  


But sadly to this day most Libs are incapable of seeing what their beloved program did - and still try to blame the "evil hateful cons" - rather than the idiocy and easily predicted results of their programs.

thenoticer
thenoticer

@dcdcdc How will longer school days help when the child is sick and needs to go home?

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@thenoticer @dcdcdc So narrow minded, and lacking so much innovation.  


Why can't schools have a "sick bay".  Or some other type of facility.  There are so many options, none of which the eduacracy will ever try - it will take charters or some other group to actually understand these parents, and come up with options that work for them.


But we obviously can't leave it up to those who think public education should operate as it did in the 50s....



Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@dcdcdc @thenoticer


Are you willing to pay the extra tax money it would take to pay teachers or daycare workers to watch children later into the evening?  Or to hire nurses and caretakers for the "sick bay"?  And if you are talking more days in a year long calendar, are you willing to pay the costs of that?  (As far as a year round schedule, a lot of teachers would prefer that to our current calendar - if you mean spreading the current number of teaching days over the full year...)


If you are unwilling to pony up the funds, then this is all pie in the sky thinking.  It is not that schools and teacher are unwilling to "innovate" - it is that they lack funding to do so and the public is generally hostile to talk of tax increases for schools.

bookophile
bookophile

As a single mother who has been there and done that, I hate to sound unsympathetic, but I realize I put myself in that position. Having a child out wedlock usually creates a lifetime of poverty. No woman in her rational mind in this high cost society should have a child by herself. I often wonder what makes single mother without any support come to big cities like Atlanta. I remember in the early 80's how we almost glamorized and romanticized it with whole 'you don't need a man' mantra. Now we are paying the cost, especially in the black community.  If you take the religious aspect out of it, I believe our ancestors knew the peril of raising children alone and having men fathering children with different women. Someone had the common sense to realize it's easier when two people do it.  Same as the it takes a village to raise a child. No one can effectively raise a child by themselves; I know this from experience. Thank God for my extended family. 

straker
straker

"I had a community"


And, according to Republican "boot strap philosophy", that's all we need.


Any kind of government intervention is like poison to them.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

In working in downtown Atlanta as a young reporter, I used to walk to the electric, gas and phone companies --- when they still had staffed offices -- and drop off my payments. And I would face the long lines at the big bank on Marietta Street to deposit my paychecks -- pre direct deposit. 

A few days before Tyler's piece arrived, I was recalling how often the person in front of me in line would be pleading their case on why they could not pay the power bill that month or why their check bounced. Often, these were single moms with two jobs but an unexpected disaster -- often a car breaking down -- would crash their budget and sometimes cost them their jobs. Or, they had lost their childcare and were unable to go to work because they had no one to watch their kids. These folks were hourly wage employees for the most part and missing work to deal with personal issues set them back. Their stories often involved evictions, men who were late on child support and unsympathetic bosses. 

Since that time, the state has tried to expand childcare options for low-wage workers, but getting their kids to the facilities and the fallout of missing work to stay home with sick children remain problems. When we had young kids, my husband and I found sick days the biggest challenge. One of us would go to work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then the other would go into the office from 4 to 10. (Working remotely did not exist, and we shared a boss at the time who had no sympathy for working parents.) 


AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

@MaureenDowney Yes, I recall one time long ago when our son came down with some eye infection that lingered for around 10 days that he could not go to daycare.  My wife and I also did the split shift thing for our jobs - 7 - 4 for her, then evenings for me. No way a single parent could have handled that without blowing up a year's worth of sick days for that one incident.

Hence (in very small part - there are many many other reasons as well) my post below..

AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

NO social program has ever or will ever successfully and consistently mitigate the damage women do to their children when they decide to have children without first getting married.

Point
Point

@AlreadySheared  The term "single mother" does not mean the mother has never married, just that she is raising her child(ren) alone. 

Carlos_Castillo
Carlos_Castillo

@Point @AlreadySheared  

Key findings

Data from the National Vital Statistics System and the National Survey of Family Growth

  • Nonmarital births and birth rates have declined 7% and 14%, respectively, since peaking in the late 2000s.
  • Births to unmarried women totaled 1,605,643 in 2013. About 4 in 10 U.S. births were to unmarried women in each year from 2007 through 2013.
  • Nonmarital birth rates fell in all age groups under 35 since 2007; rates increased for women aged 35 and over.
  • Birth rates were down more for unmarried black and Hispanic women than for unmarried non-Hispanic white women.
  • Nonmarital births are increasingly likely to occur within cohabiting unions—rising from 41% of recent births in 2002 to 58% in 2006–2010.  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db162.htm 


42% of 40% is 16.8% of total births are to unmarried mothers.  Certainly there are outstanding mothers and successful kids among this group, but the odds are stacked against them.


The 26% of all births that take place within cohabiting unions may or may not be a good trend.  Where the union is long term and stable, having two parents would certainly better the odds of success for the children being raised.  


This 26% would appear also to include a mother with five kids, each of whom was born to a different live-in sperm donor.  Arguably, multiple kids born out of short-term liaisons have it worst than kids born to a single mother.


Again, we're talking odds from large numbers, not anecdotal personal experience. Outstanding individuals can grow up anywhere, but the odds are better with two long-term parents.



AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

@Point 

I wrote

"women .. [who] decide to have children without first getting married."

Somehow, you read "single mother".

I wrote what I wrote, not what you read.  You are welcome to 'reply' to my comment, but you should do so without replying to something I did not write.

Point
Point

@AlreadySheared @Point You wrote of damage done to children because their mother decided to have a child without getting married.  You are correct, I assumed you meant the damage was from not having a father in the home.  Evidently you were referring to the shame the children must feel being born out of wedlock.  My apologies.


On the other hand, single mothers are bashed in the blogs on a regular basis.  As a (divorced) single mother, the continual bashing becomes tiresome.  My ex made the choice to leave and never paid a penny of child support.  I had no choice but make the best of it and I grew two sons into incredible, independent men who have jobs and own their own homes.  However, it would greatly help if I could be paid on the male scale ,as the man who previously held my position was paid $50,000 more a year than I am paid.  

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Yes, many Georgians have a great deal of social (and cultural) capital they could bestow, but many are of the mindset of their leaders:  Enrich further those that have, and to h3ll with those who don't.  It is their FAULT they are in that fix, and it is up to them, and them only, to magically undo the mistakes/poor choices made, and the bad luck they have had.  Because, you know, the rest of us have such great lives because of ourselves, and ourselves alone!  THAT seems to be the current mindset among many Georgia citizens, and a big reason why our state, so rich in so many ways,  will continue to flounder.


Now, posting after me (or before me--I have not read any previous posts) we will have numerous posters saying they made it from nothing, with no help.  We will also have those who will tell us their own children get their time; they don't have time to help others.  Yet, our children and grandchildren will inherit this even more strongly dichotomized world, and they will likely wonder why we didn't try to deal with the problems with more than, at best, our lips.

meno
meno

@Wascatlady Well-put!  One thing I really appreciated about Mr. Thigpen's piece is that he talks about all the help he got from others even though his parents were instilling in him the value of hard work and that he started his own business as a teen.  I defy any of the posters here to explain how their successful lives were the result of only them and no one else (whose help they were lucky to have).

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@meno @Wascatlady I agree.  It strikes a nerve with me when people claim to have "never had any help"  and that they "have done it on their own."  How quickly they forget.

heyteacher
heyteacher

I can't imagine trying to navigate sick kids and childcare without family support -- my husband and I dread those phone calls because it's so tough for either of us to take a day off from work. 


IMHO the issue is more complicated than just single parenthood -- we don't have good support systems in place for working parents or anyone else that needs to take time off to take care of family. 

Astropig
Astropig

There are plenty of churches (of all faiths) that would happily step into this "services void",but the eduacracy is so hostile to them that they would rather see parents like "Mary" and "Mary's" child suffer than allow them entree into the support network that they claim that they want to see.


DFCS is a really,really poor substitute for people that actually care enough to do their services for free.

Astropig
Astropig

@sneakpeakintoeducation


No they didn't. The Brits didn't have modern communications (to coordinate help agencies),they didn't have modern health care (antiseptics were not in common use and that killed a lot of people, cheap antibiotics were undiscovered), and they didn't have modern,affordable transportation to facilitate care and support.All of these advantages (and more) exist today.


Lazy thinking like yours is why such problems defy solution.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@Astropig

You obviously failed to see the point. To rely on charity or churche's does not help to solve the problems that people who l8ve in poverty or are the poor working class face everyday. If you lived under the same circumstances for a month I am sure you'd change your clise-m8nd ed opinion.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

Sorry about my typo's. I was using my phone to reply. I should have said 


"those who live in poverty" and "close-minded opinion".

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Astropig @sneakpeakintoeducation 

No, sneakpeek is correct. Victorian England's Poor Laws gave government funds to the Anglican parishes to distribute to the "deserving poor" (working poor) in their congregations. The government also maintained "Poor Schools" that gave free education to the children of the poor.


However, this produced many problems. The funds only went to the state church, the Anglican Church, so only the poor in their congregations were helped. Also, the definition of the "deserving poor" omitted those who were poor but not working...and also helped to drive down the already low wages since the employers argued that their workers received money from their churches.  These laws were finally abandoned because of the unintentional side-effects (and costs).

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@OriginalProf @Astropig @sneakpeakintoeducation


@OriginalProf


Thanks for a more detailed reply than I had the time to give. The "solutions" that astropig talks about are no more better than having to beg for alms from the rich or beg for  charity . If the excuse is that we have technologies today that didn't exist back in Victorian times then, by all accounts, we shouldn't see anyone living in poverty today. Astropig, you point these things out as if  those who live in poverty are choosing to live in those circumstances. I have a feeling that it doesn't matter what circumstances someone is living in and the obstacles they face, you would find a way to disparage them even further.