I recently read a blog post written by someone who is quite poor. She talks about why poor people make seemingly terrible decisions. Then Dave Ramsey posted 20 things rich people do every day, and was met with a big backlash of blog responses and interviewers asking him why he contrasted the rich habits to poor habits and did not cite any sources for those statistics, and his response was less than kind.
I thought I'd share a few of my own responses.
First, I hate being called "poor". These posts really helped me understand why -- people hate on poor people for existing. I realize that technically, we are poor, but our degree of "poor" is not the same as the author of the first blog post linked, and I know it is a temporary thing, even if it lasts for the next 3 years while I'm in nursing school. We have a comfortable home, food for our family, two functioning (paid-for) vehicles, and we have been so blessed to make it through several months of unemployment thus far.
Second, we are "broke" but not "broken". You see, I have hope. Hope that my husband can get some sort of a job to get us through. Hope that I will get a good job after graduating. Hope that someday, we'll have insurance through an employer again. Hope that we won't be broke forever.
Third, we truly cannot know what another person has gone through to get to the place where they are in life. What that means to me is that sometimes I am more critical or judgmental than I ought to be, and that is something I can control. Also, I cannot control other people's choices or circumstances or their judgments of me. And realizing that is oddly freeing.
Fourth, it isn't always a poor person's fault that they are poor. Growing up in poverty isn't a choice children make, but they often are stuck in the same circumstances as adults. My husband has come a long way from the projects in L.A. or the streets where he lived as a teen and early adult. While I have never been homeless, we did live in some pretty interesting places (one house was nicknamed the Mold Pit). We have both been blessed with opportunities to make different choices, but not all poor or impoverished people are so blessed.
And finally, even the poorest among us deserves to love and be loved. If you are a Christian, take the time to spread some of Christ's love to the poor among us this holiday season. If you're not a Christian and still celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Ramadah, or other holidays this time of year, please remember the poor who are all around us and bless them in some way.