in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Find satisfaction in more than money

File under: hope, success, public perception, social networks

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From: Phil S., Eagan, MN

There is a plethora of research that points to so many different factors as being contributors to poverty: education, social circumstance, skin color, etc. I believe the problem is in how we define poverty.

In the United States we tend to frame it in monetary or material terms. Meanwhile, in some of the developing countries, whole communities of people live in poverty by our standards, but continue to survive with a sense of joy, and some hope.

The difference seems to be in the notion of community. In those poorer communities, the people see themselves as being in this situation together, and they help each other. In the United States, everyone's on their own.

Ultimately, I think breaking the cycle of poverty involves doing a lot of things.

1) We have to change how we, as a culture, define success so that it is focused on achievements, rather than on amount of income.

2) We have to ensure that every child has access to an environment that educates, inspires, and affirms them as individuals who contribute to society.

3) We have to instill in each child appreciation that being fully human means employing the gifts they have in ways that contribute positively to society and allow them to support themselves and their families -- that success is not gauged by the amount of money one has, or the power one wields.


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