Understanding Poverty, Chapter 4: Characteristics of Generational Poverty (Ruby Payne)

This chapter is about defining some of the distinctive characteristics of those in generational poverty. The difference between generational poverty and situational poverty include that those who have been in poverty for 2 generations or more are, obviously, in generational poverty; those who are impoverished due to a tragic or life-altering event (death, divorce, marriage, illness, etc.) are considered in situational poverty.

Some key thoughts mentioned about generational poverty are that these individuals believe that "society owes [them] a living. " They think only on a concrete level when it comes to work; they do not strive for a career, only for a job that will get them by for the moment. They are also more likely to quit if they do not like their teacher/boss/colleague/etc. There is also incredble emphasis on the mother figure in the family. Dr. Payne breaks down the basic structure of relationships between mother and children, and of husband and wife. She explains repeatedly that the mother is the most important person in the family, but that allegiances between parents or extended family members changes often and without warning. This causes confusion in basic elements of the student's life, such as who he or she is going him with, who will sign their permission forms or homework papers, who will send lunch money, etc. This was a great reminder to consider the whole child, and not to judge or become frustrated with them, as these things are inevitable and totally out of their control.

Poor babies. We will never know what our children face, and I don't think we could handle it if we did!