Understanding Poverty, Chapter 5: Role Models and Emotional Resources (Ruby Payne)

Now that Dr. Payne has clearly established characteristics of generational poverty, the dilemma is how those individuals can make the jump out of poverty into middle class.

"In order to move from poverty to middle class or from middle class to wealth, one must trade off some relationships for achievement at least for a period of time. To do this, one needs emotional resources and stamina."

People draw these emotional resources from role models, and the problem for educators is that most of our impoverished students do not have access to appropriate role models to help them make that jump. A few of the ways we can help students strive for better in life include using "appropriate discipline strategies," and by "establishing long-term relationships." These resonated with me because I have the opportunity for both in my library classroom setting. My own personal beliefs regarding discipline (at school and at home) are that the punishment should fit the crime. Logical consequences teach the child to trust me to be fair with them, which helps lead into building that long-term relationship. I teach at an elementary school, which means I meet those precious darlings when they are 5 and say goodbye to them when they are 10 or 11! (Disregarding transients, of course.) That gives me a good, solid 6 years with these children to impress upon them the inherent belief that they are capable of striving for great things in their life, regardless of what they are told at home! What a challenge before us, when you look at it that way!