Saturday, October 06, 2007

Parenting in Poverty

Last week I attended some training, on safeguarding children, for the voluntary work I do. I left feeling depressed because of the comments expressed by others attending. I don't really understand why my consideration of social deprivation was dismissed, why some people were only too keen to call parents bad, and why people wanted to disrupt children's lives by removing them instead of offering support to enable families to stay together. Poverty in the UK is a neglected issue, despite the fine campaigning of Shelter and Oxfam et al.
There are all lovely people, well I thought they were, but so off base with some of their judgemental, value laden comments that I wanted to cry. I did what I always do, I chose the wrong battles. Because of that I was oppositional, probably completely ineffectual, and would never change any one's mind. I must remember to marshall my thoughts more thoughtfully! It made me think of searching for a poem and I found this one;

I grow daily more tired from trying
To make rich men care about poor children
Their world view such a study in the unreality that is men’s lives
They truly believe that all these children would be well
If their lazy mothers just worked harder
if they left them all alone at night to work another shift?
if they never had the time to see the insides of their schools?
that would be better?
It seems that way to the rich, white men
Because they leave life’s details and their family’s alone
Never knowing what mothers do and don’t do to keep their children well
They leave and they fault mothers for being there still
If money is not
The battles to make them see and care are wearing me
Burning me
Magadi, M. and Middleton, S. (2007) Severe Child Poverty in the UK, Save the Children, London, UK.

This report finds that one out of every ten children in the UK is living in severe poverty. A total of 1.4 million children have an income well below the government’s poverty line and lack basic necessities that most people in the UK take for granted. Policy-makers say that the first step to changing something is to measure it.Yet the government does not currently measure severe poverty. Save the Children argues that the government must focus its efforts on these children.

We cannot safeguard children unless we tackle the enormous strain and stress of families who live their lives in poverty. Poverty was never a rosy picture, however it is presented in sepia, it is desperate.


Blogger thinkingthings said...

Kudos to you for speaking up. I am constantly amazed at the callousness and cruelty of people. It is too easy to see people living in poverty and simply look away. Even though you may feel like your words didn't change anything, we still have to speak up. We still have to risk other people's wrath because by speaking up maybe someday someone will take notice. If one person changes their outlook, it can make a world of difference for children.

I have to admit, though, that I had really hoped the situation was different overseas than it is here the US.

Thanks, though, for sticking up for people who can't do it for themselves.

2:37 PM  

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