Definition of Poverty
Ruby Payne defines poverty as: “The extent to which an individual does without resources.”
The important resources are defined as:
FINANCIAL: Having money to purchase goods and services.
EMOTIONAL: Being able to choose and control emotional responses, particularly to negative situations, without engaging in self destructive behaviors.
MENTAL: Having the mental abilities and acquired skills (reading, writing, computing) to deal with daily life.
SPIRITUAL: Believing in a divine purpose and guidance (something more powerful or important than oneself).
PHYSICAL: Having physical health, well being and mobility.
SUPPORT SYSTEMS: Having friends, family and backup personal resources available to access in times of need.
RELATIONSHIPS/ROLEMODELS: Having frequent access to mature adult(s) who are appropriate, who are nurturing and supporting, and who do not engage in self-destructive behavior.
KNOWLEGE OF HIDDEN RULES: Knowing the unspoken cues, habits, perceptions and expectations of a group one interacts with.
Typically one thinks of poverty in terms of a lack of financial resources. This is important but does not account for the success people have leaving poverty or explain why people are stuck in poverty. The challenge to our schools and society is to help individuals have access to all the resources they may need to move out of poverty to personal achievement and success. Or, as Roger Kaufman put it, “Not under the care, custody or control of any person, place or thing.”