I recently heard someone speak about a book, DVD, seminar, and nationwide program that is all based on the book “Bridges Out of Poverty.”
In short, it discusses how different classes have different mindsets, perceptions, and priorities. It also helps businesses and the community bridge those differences to communicate, work and help each other better. Likewise, the program provides tools and strategies for those in poverty to get out of it, if they want.
I grew up with two parents who came from poverty. My mother’s family was always living paycheck to paycheck and she often spoke of the day ‘they’ came to repossess her parent’s furniture. She had to wear hand-me-down shoes and clothes from her relatives and her brothers. My mother’s toes were actually permanently injured because she had to wear shoes that were too small. All the kids had to work and give their parents their money.
My father’s family was a little better off but, like my mother, he lived during the Depression. Jobs were tough and even though his family had a better work ethic, he, too, wore second hand clothes.
They married and struggled for many years. I recall one story when my parents had $0.59 in the bank, one can of soup, and my father brought someone home for dinner. My father started a business from a chicken coop and grew it to 30 employees and later sold it. They retired comfortably and he was actually a savvy investor.
They sent me to private school and I rubbed elbows with all sorts of classes and people, including the very wealthy.
As I sat through the lecture of “Bridges Out of Poverty”, the speaker discussed the three classes; Poverty, Middle Class, and Wealthy – and how they think differently. I found that I had thoughts or perspectives from all classes. My parents probably instilled in me thoughts from their years of Poverty. I lived a middle class, maybe upper middle class life. I learned some wealthy thoughts from classmates and the school.
Lessons? Each class has its advantages and disadvantages.
- Those in poverty often can achieve great success because they believe in destiny of some kind and also believe that they have little or nothing to lose. They can just let go and go for it. They work hard. However they have ‘tyranny of the moment’ often because their lives may be ruled by bills and immediate needs.
- Those in the middle class have future vision – they can think about and plan for the future. They also have a network of social and business contacts that can work together. However there are sometimes examples of conditional relationships.
- Wealthy classes have the relationships and connections to do well. They have expertise. However, there are examples of conditional relationships (vs unconditional) and loss of work ethic.
The program is not about judgement, labeling, or otherwise. It points out rules of thumb for each group and simply the awareness of these things can help – it helped me. The program can then point out ways that each of us can change or think differently if we want to change a class.
How do you prioritize in life? What do you think about social and business connections? What about your work ethic? Your thoughts on destiny, risk, taking chances? Do you have a future vision?
here is more….
Bridges Out of Poverty is a powerful model and book for economic and social change, sustainability, and stability. It inspires innovative solutions in those looking to counter poverty and its impact at all levels in a community. This approach helps employers, higher education, community organizations, social service agencies, hospitals, individuals, and others address poverty in a comprehensive way. People from all economic classes come together to improve job retention rates, build resources, improve outcomes, and support those who are moving out of poverty
Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World is a program that supports people in poverty to create their own plan for stability. It embeds the concepts of Bridges Out of Poverty into a format where groups examine the impact of poverty on themselves and their communities.