Parents have a duty


Source : Google photo

Synopsis: We all hope to live a better life than our parents if we come from poverty but that hope is nourished by parents who do their duty to raise the child properly. The poor say that their poverty is the trap they can’t seem to get out of but there are many ways a poor person can succeed in life through hard work and honesty. The blog looks at the reasons for the poverty trap and ways anyone can get out of it.


There was a child who was born in a very poor family where his parents were preoccupied with the struggle for living so could not even buy kerosene for the lamp the child needed for his studies so he sat under a street lamp to read. He was a smart kid who only needed the means to get some education so the poverty did not prevent him. He understood at his tender age that his parents were too poor to provide him the means so he took it upon himself to find the means even if it meant studying under a street lamp.

Later the child would grow up to be a great philosopher and a social reformer of his time and attain the level of education to become the principal of a prestigious college in Kolkata. A great bridge is dedicated to his name  that is synonymous to great knowledge, wisdom and learning.

A vast number of poor people in this world produce large number of children for whom they feel scant responsibility other than a poor meal once or twice a day if they are lucky. It is quite possible that many such poor children growing up in slums and shanties are born smart but are not given the opportunity to reach their full potential because their poor parents are unable to do so.

If you go to any village in Burundi or Rwanda , you will be instantly surrounded by very large number of children , some very young and others a bit older who appear like magic. Their clothes that are in tatters and bare feet speak volumes about their conditions but their parents who are dirt poor farmers keep producing such children year after year relegating their future to poverty and dirt farming. Nobody knows what these children could be if they were given good food and sent to school. Nobody knows their potential because they are not given the opportunity to fulfill it.

This is the same story in the slums of large and small cities and towns in many so called third world countries where teen age pregnancy is common and where women learn to be promiscuous at a very early age but learn no sense of responsibility that comes with producing children who are born of lust and not love.

One analogy comes to my mind here so I am tempted to look at the act of procreation from the point of view of animals that are wild or domestic and see that the animals procreate because they are hard wired to do so to continue their existence. But the females are also hard wired to breed only with the most powerful and handsome males to the benefit of their progeny that are also strong and beautiful. The weak and sick animals are not given the chance of breeding so  they die out naturally or are pushed aside by the stronger animals. The nature has no mechanism to take care of weak and sick animals so they just die or are killed by other animals that are stronger.

That is the law of nature . The females are also hard wired to prepare their off springs for survival in the wilderness and teach them all the things they know to do so. The mother cheetah patiently teaches the young ones to learn to hunt and fight in self defense. The mother seal patiently teaches the young seal to learn to swim because she knows that it is a necessary skill for them to survive.

But we as humans do not learn from the animals how they prepare their progeny to survive on their own and think that our responsibility ends by giving them birth. The morality that leads to marriage is considered a middle class phenomenon that also emphasizes love, care, proper nutrition for the new born and preparing the young ones for their secure future by providing them all the opportunities like education and training to do so. They also restrict the size of the family because they want to take good care of a few children than having a large family of 7 or 8 kids . These are the responsible parents  who raise children with good moral and religious values .

The poor of this world are less constrained by such values and the sense of responsibility because they feel that their poverty does not permit it. They give in to lust easily because the morality or the lack of it does not weigh heavily on them so they start breeding when they come of age without giving much thoughts to the future. That is where they are different from the animals because the animals prepare their progeny for the time when they have to be on their own. Also having illegitimate children with several partners does not have the social stigma among the poor that the middle class people have.

The religion does play a role in reminding people of all class, rich or poor that they all have a social responsibility when they bring in any child to this world but the poor are less prone to listen to padres because they use their poverty as the excuse. Very few poor children have to will to study under a street lamp to get the education they need to succeed in their life so they remain mired in poverty generation after generation.

I have recently visited the Amish people of Pennsylvania in the United States where  they raise their children with love and care and send them to school up to the 8th grade because they feel that their farming life style does not need more education than the 8th grade. The Amish children thus raised fit in perfectly into their roles in their self sustained farming life where they live simply, frugally and in communities where they feel their responsibility toward all the members of their community and help them when in need. There no one goes hungry and lives in need so all the Amish help each other who are similarly raised. They also are devout Christians with high moral values. (Please read my blog on the Amish here called The admirable Amish )

But in the communities of the poor in the world, there are no such values and where every individual has to fend for himself to survive. There are no social securities for them so they may die of many preventable illness. The jobs that some may find is related to their lack of schooling or training so the most accept the low paying jobs others won’t do . You ll see a very large number of the rural poor work in the farms for low wages that helps them survive but not out of poverty cycle just like in those hills of Burundi and Rwanda.

The slum dwellers in the cities also survive getting low paying jobs of washing clothes or gardening for the middle class or the rich people but it does not give them a way out of their cycle of poverty. They are also the heaviest breeders in any country where their government struggles to provide some aid to their poor.

The economy of a country develops when most people work, earn and pay their taxes so it is called the formal economy where the tax money is then spent for the development of the country. When there is a growing number of people who get out of poverty through education and getting marketable skills , they join the middle class that creates demands for goods and services that in turn acts as the motor that runs the economy.

This demand for goods and services creates employment opportunities for others . It is said that one person who has a steady job supports at least 10 people who provide him the services not including his own family so one million working people with stable jobs support nearly 10 million people.

Most of these 10 million people are called self supporting because they open up small shops or business that provide the service others need and in the process become a part of the middle class themselves. Many washer men and women open up their laundry service and a cook may open up a small eatery that serves wholesome food at low cost.

These are the enterprising people who try hard to succeed in life by becoming successful entrepreneurs . ( please read my blog here called  Result of hard work) but not all the poor are successful entrepreneurs because they do not have what it takes to succeed in getting out of poverty.

One maid who was working in Singapore sent home her hard earned money every month but her unemployed husband called common law husband meaning not married was spending the money carelessly by drinking and keeping another woman as well and producing more illegitimate children. This is the sad story of millions of women working hard abroad in low paying jobs while their partners spend the money without a care in the world and impregnating other women. Drinking, gambling and borrowing money for their bad habits that may include womanizing comes naturally to some poor people who think it is quite normal.

The fact is that there is nothing normal about being poor with bad habits. There are numerous examples of poor people who have made a good life for themselves through sheer determination and hard  work by getting the education and skills they needed to get good jobs. Even for the very poor, there are opportunities if they are wise to see and make use of it.

We had a maid here who was only 16 years of age and very smart so her barrio got some money together to pay for her high school education. I am sure she had gone on to get a college education later and has now a good job somewhere. There was another very poor girl whom the nuns of a convent supported for her college education because they knew that she was intelligent and willing to study hard to succeed. She has a doctorate degree now and lives in Europe on assignment. ( please read my blog here called Small towns and dreamers )

So my blog focuses on the parental duties today that excuses no one. We like the wild animals have a duty to our off springs to prepare them for the future when we will not be around. Many fail to do their duty so the kids suffer due to no fault of their own. Some poor people are known to leave their new born in a basket secretly at the door steps of rich people hoping that they will be adopted while others offer their children to the adoption agencies that then look for foster families some where.

In Brazil, some parents abandon their illegitimate children who then grow up in the streets of big cities just like feral animals scavenging the garbage bins for food. These street children try to survive on their own by getting into prostitution and other such activities and are often treated as vermin to be eliminated by armed thugs. It is a big social issue they do not like to talk about there.

In modern South Africa, the same things happen in places where black people live in vast slums and in poverty so in different countries, poor people find different ways to survive as poor but fail to get out of poverty.

Now I will suggest ways to get out of poverty.

You can get some kind of vocational training to be a carpenter, mason, auto mechanic, repairman for electronics, refrigerators, air conditioners etc. Such training are usually given by the governments in many countries and it does not require a formal education so anyone smart enough to learn a trade can apply. In the Philippines the  Don Bosco  school offers such training that leads to good jobs.

You can sell something in the streets and save your money to start someday your own small shop and prosper later from it.  I know of some one who did it.

If you finish high school with good grades, some opportunities will come your way for higher education because some universities provide free tuition for poor students.

In the United States many kids work part time to pay for their own education. I know because I did it myself. There are many part time jobs available for anyone who is determined to finish college.

If you are an artist or craftsman of some quality, then some people will buy your artwork. Now with the worldwide Internet, you can post your art work for free and get free publicity so that people may know about your talent. A kid in England who started drawing with charcoal the faces of people has now become a sought out artist and very rich because his parents put his artwork in the Internet.

You can compete if you have singing ability like Amira Willighagen in Holland who has become a star known all over the world at her tender age of only 12. She learned how to sing by watching U tube videos. There is a similar case here in the Philippines where a very poor child became a star through her singing ability.

If you have a high school diploma, are healthy and very determined , then you can join the armed services in your country where they can train you in a profession other than fighting like radio operator, drone pilot, technical expert for servicing aircraft and other machinery, as medic, as physical therapist, as logistics specialist, as commissary agent and many more . Later you can earn a good living using the skills learned in the armed services. They also offer financial aid for your college education.

Poor but athletic children can succeed as professional football or basketball players if they can get more training somewhere.

There are many ways one can get ahead in life but it requires a character building where your parents play a crucial role. If they are drunkards, womanizers and gamblers then they provide a poor role model for you who will be influenced by them. It is like a prostitute who tells her daughter to be chaste . It does not work that way because you need the moral ascendancy to do so.

But if your parents are honest, religious and hard working people who practice good values in-spite of being poor, they will teach you all you need to know to succeed in life. This character building starts very early in a child’s life. He absorbs everything he sees , hears and feels and has to be taught what is good and what is not . Ill behaved children who are innocent  absorb all the bad things they see, feel and experience so here lies the great responsibility of the parents.

Teach your children good values and honesty even if you are poor . It is your duty.


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