I remember my Dad’s response to my question about how he and his family survived the Great Depression.
“We were fine. The worst impact I felt was that our pants had holes that needed to be mended.”
Today, I realize that his family only suffered from financial poverty.
I have learned that it takes more than money to dig out of poverty. In fact, one can be wealthy (money-wise) and still be poor.
Here is what I have learned one needs to be poverty-free: emotional, spiritual, physical, cognitive, and finally financial resources.
Of all these resources, things one can rely upon to help in a pinch, the greatest is emotional. If you were to be gifted a million dollars today and could not control your impulses … the money would be gone in under a year. Right? So many people, me included, make emotional purchases – otherwise known as impulse buying.
Spiritual resources are those that assist one with direction – to help determine priorities, real goals that can give one a sense of purpose in life. A million dollars will not help someone with no purpose.
Physical resources is the gift of health. Money is no good if you don’t have your health.
Cognitive resources refer to “education”. Without an education, it is true, that you can still be illiterate, but education opens doors. If you have a million dollars, and don’t know how to invest it or protect it – or spend it wisely, why would you feel free from the clutches of poverty?
My Dad and his family had all the resources they needed during the depression. Although they were not financially rich, they were very well off. And this wealth of “other” more important resources allowed him to earn and keep money in the future.
Our focus on poverty, must not be on financial poverty. Our focus must be on helping people to develop resources including emotional, cognitive, physical, and spiritual.
(This lesson on poverty was inspired by Dr. Ruby Payne’s work: Bridges out of Poverty. For more reading, check out: http://www.ahaprocess.com/About_Us/Ruby_Payne.html)