It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village

It’s true.  It DOES take a village to succeed in life.  You need family, friends, neighbors and networks to survive in the world – you can’t do it alone.

Yet I cringe when I hear the phrase.  That’s my issue.

Anywho – I’m surprised at the tone of The Atlantic:

How do single moms with few resources and little income survive?

“They trade, they bargain, they strategize, they give each other daycare help, they share housing and food—women learn to strategize their way through all of these resources,” Suzanne Morrissey, a professor at Whitman College who has studied these families, told me.

Research suggests that while two-parent families may be isolated islands of efficiency, single parents—even poor ones—rely on an ever-expanding social network to get by. That social network has become even more important in the wake of welfare reform, when women who couldn’t find work could no longer count on cash assistance, and had to depend on their families and friends.

“It was really piecing together help from family and friends, letting bills stay unpaid, and in some of the more dire situations, they doubled up with friends and other family members because housing is such a big cost,” said Kristin Seefeldt, a professor at the University of Michigan who recently released a study about the strategies used by low-income parents in the wake of welfare reform.

I remember being low income.  I had a roommate and often times roomMATES.  We shared many things; food, rent, cars, utilities and yes – money.

In fact, I vividly remember having conversations with my main man that should either of us find ourselves in the position of having a kid out of wedlock that we would BOTH work to support that child – whatever came our way.

Why is that a bad thing?

Also, and I can’t let this slip, especially after my post on ‘social contract‘, when does single mom become a choice as opposed to an unwanted aspect of life?

Syracuse resident Brandi Davis, a 35-year-old mother of five, has been on public assistance since she was 18 years old. She asks her parents and grandmother to watch her kids when she’s working her minimum-wage job at the grocery store, and sometimes her older children help out, too. The help is necessary, especially since the jobs available to Davis, who has a GED, mostly pay minimum wage.

Beginning at adulthood, young Ms. Davis has never cared for herself yet has brought 5 children into this world.


Does society’s obligation have limits?

7 responses to “It Takes a Village

  1. The kids are part of society and deserve a decent education, nutrition and health care. We can blame the mom (though she is trying to work!) I think ultimately some kind of system of required community service in exchange for government assistance is a good idea, though single moms would be the hardest part since you need child care! I don’t think these cases make up a significant portion of welfare costs those.

    • The kids are part of society and deserve a decent education, nutrition and health care.

      Yes. Those kids are screwed. And it’s not their fault that they were born to the condition they were. After which child should that mother really stopped having more? After the first? The second?

      I don’t think these cases make up a significant portion of welfare costs those.

      This is a good project. Let’s see if you and I can find the amount of money going to single mother families. And then such families with multiple children.

  2. Why can’t we blame the mother? I think you can certainly blame the mother after the first one or two for being both selfish and irresponsible. 5 kinds into the world without any care/concern as to birth control, or as to cost? Where’s the personal responsibility? As Chris Rock says, “Put the d#ck down”. And of course, the obvious question – where are the fathers in all of this? Easy to assume that there’s more than one in this scenario.

    Attitudes like the one found below are prevalent, and shows not just the seflishness of some men but the selfishness of some women as well.
    We shouldn’t be subtracting accountability of the parent(s) from the situation just because society is now stuck with a kid.

    And with respect to Mr. Erb, how can you say that each kid is a low cost on the system? By what metric? How many years of free food, subsidized shelter, free education, free health care, and quite likely incarceration are the rest of us having to pay for these kids? Then add in the kids that these kids themselves will be having in their teen/adult years, and having the cycle continue all over again. The cost has to be huge, but the PC Police never want to tell these welfare cases to knock it off.

    Liberals always want to say that the cost isn’t so great when it isn’t their money. Let’s see what they do when it’s they themselves having to pay for it out of their own pocket.

    • Why can’t we blame the mother?

      Well, I think that we can all agree that those 5 children are severely disadvantaged growing up They will never be forced to go to school, to bed. They likely will never have a parent yell at them for back talking a ref or a coach.

      Forced reading time? Likely zero minutes daily.

      They will never be taught responsibility as a child – how can we expect them to practice responsibility as adults?

      But yes – if the primary responsibility rests somewhere, it rests on them.

  3. Low cost in compared to other government spending. Blame the mother if you want, but if we let those children fail, the cost is even higher because we lose what they can contribute to society. Punishing the children for the sins of the mother is wrong. And it hurts us. We’re better if we can help those children use their talent to improve our society! We hurt ourselves if they are poor, prone to crime, and contribute nothing.

    • Blame the mother if you want

      Seriously, who would YOU blame?


      We’re better if we can help those children use their talent to improve our society!

      You would have a better argument if by ‘we’re’ you meant ‘we’. But you don’t, you mean ‘me’. As in Pino.

    • Mr. Erb,

      This is what bothers me about most liberal positions – skip the action, give a free pass to the behavior, and then forget about those two things and instead just deal with the consequence. Worse, then it’s “preach to me at me re: responsibility and community.” It’s similar to the illegal immigration issue – forget that they’re here illegally, forget that they’re not screened. Now that they’re here, let’s just focus on feeding and sheltering them and ignore how or why they got here in the first place. It’s ridiculous.

      And I didn’t say let the children fail – and neither did Pino – yet your comment clearly implies that all either he or I want to do is focus on blaming the mother, children be damned. Totally untrue.

      On the contrary, our focus is on the fact that we DO have to take care of those kids, and will through our taxes, charity, whatever, to try and make sure they don’t fail.

      And while we’re discussing that, you haven’t said a word about the mother’s behavior. Therefore I second Pino’s question: who would you blame?

      Blaming may not solve a problem, but it can sure go a long in helping prevent a problem the next time when you bring personal accountability and consequences into the equation along with it.

Leave a Reply