Effectively Escaping Poverty

Poverty cannot be solved by throwing money at it: poverty is the result of a number of factors, the most important of which in the United States are the belief system and values of those in poverty.

Persons temporarily impoverished by catastrophic economic changes have the social skills necessary to return to the middle class life style once jobs are allowed to return — they need only some retraining and temporary unemployment insurance claim payments (which they paid perhaps 8% of payroll to purchase every working day of their lives). More difficult is the situation for those who have always been poor and, barring changes in their own worldview, will always remain poor: the amount of the minimum wage will not change this at all.

There will always be some people who are classified as poor. Those who are considered poor in third world nations live substantially differently than those who are considered poor in first world nations. As an example, no impoverished father in the US would cut off his children’s feet  — just as his own father had cut off his feet — so that they could sit by the road and beg, yet in India this is seen. In my own city, no middle class person would countenance spending the entire week riding buses to churches and charities begging, or learning from your friends which lies must be told (and how to make them believable) to which organizations in order to collect various money or goods.  It is a different value system, a way of life.

And the two biggest barriers to overcoming poverty are 1. believing that what you do does in fact influence what happens to you, and 2. believing that you would be better off if you changed.

Helping a person in generational poverty reach this point takes a lot of effort. Once they do realize that their choices do have consequences (good as well as bad), then they need help gaining and keeping employment that is within their skill set. There is always a need for people who can lift a heavy bag or mow grass or wash windows or water plants or shovel snow. clean up doggie do, paint things, pickup trash, and so on.

The important thing is not the kind of work being performed but the fact that work is being performed and valued enough to receive pay for that work. The next step is helping them to keep that job — by coaching in the hidden rules of work: be on time and reliable, perform proper personal hygiene first, dress appropriately, stay respectful and not emotional, view the work as a business agreement between someone who wants work done and someone willing to do that work — not an entitlement that someone owes to you and you can complain about.

After there is a lifestyle change to a regular work schedule, then re-training in job skills of interest to and achievable by each individual need to start. This could be basic training with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development World Interactive Network (WIN) system in very basic hard job skills — reading for information, locating information, essential math — or it could mean learning computer job skills, or even working toward a formal college degree. In Indiana we are unusual because about 20% of workers are in various trades and train through Union Apprenticeship programs where they train in classrooms half a day and work on a job site the other half, earning half scale.

Once the person is in a lifestyle of routinely going to work, they will upgrade occasionally as they learn more and better opportunities find them. Their worldview will have changed and will continue to change as their personal experience teaches them what works and what does not. It takes about two years of personal one-on-one peer support to get them to this point, but once they receive real pay regularly they prefer it to handouts (it is more money and more reliably obtained).

Of course, after a year or two people who have been improving their job skills and working are self supporting and earning above minimum wage, and those who pursue a college degree or apprenticeship are earning well above minimum wage, so changing the minimum wage really does not help.

Good Humor Day

I normally do not post humor, but I’m in a funny mood tonight. We can all most likely use a brief happiness break, so here goes.

Sea Captain

Ah well, so a good pastor arrived in heaven, and the angels were showin him around: there was his nice little cottage and a field with some cows, and birds chirpin in the country side, and downtown of course there were the usual shops and things, and of course a StarBucks in every block. So while the angel is givin the new pastor the grand tour of his new home, there comes up a rukus like as you have never heard before: shoutin and trumpets and a full parade with clowns and floats and everything!

The pastor looked up at the angel and asked him what was going on. “Oh”, said the angel, “That must be the new guy, that grizzled old sea captain.”

Well now as the floats were gettin closer he could see a bit better and sure enough there was a float shaped like the bridge of a sailin ship and pearched atop it with all the smiling friends you could imagine was this one little ol’ sea captain, jus’ standing there lookin like he could eat you for breakfast.

And they partied right on by the pastor with narry a nod and off to some huge place with gold trim and oodles of hired help and it turns out that is the guys new home.

Well, the pastor is a wee bit perplexed, you see, since he didn’t get none of the like, and he turns to the angel and asks him why.

“Well sir, you see” explained the angel, “it is a simple matter of supply and demand. We have lots of good pastors up here, but do you know how hard it is to get one grizzled old sea captain?”

Three legged chicken

Ah well then, if you haven’t changed web sites yet, I’ll try again. It seems one day a fairly wealthy man decided he would pander to his middle aged whims and went shoppin for a sports car. He found a nice red convertable for himself, paid in cash, and took it out for a spin in the country.

He was cruisin along at 40 miles per hour when he looks at the peaceful farm scape beside him and to his total surprise, sees a chicken in his rear view mirror. The chicken, it seems, is runnin along have a nice peaceful day as well, and keeping pace nicely with the new sports car.

Now it is a bit disturbing to a man to have a chicken running just as fast as his auto, but for a man in a new sports car this is completely unacceptable, so the man gives it a bit of gas and cruises down the road at 60 now.

The chicken jobs right up beside the drivers door and smiles at the man. He sees it has not two but three legs.

Now the rich fella is really upset, so he floors the accelerator pedal and the car leaps up to 200 miles per hour. At that point, he hears the chicken say something like “Beep beep!” and it zooms past him twice as fast, leaving the man in the dust.

So he takes his foot off the gas, slows down, and as it would be, he is just commin up on a small farm with a man sittin on the porch reading the newspaper.

He simply must find out what is going on and so he pulls into the farmer’s drive and walks up to the porch to talk to him.

“Did you see that?” he asked the farmer.

“Yap.” sighed the farmer without even looking up from his paper.

“Passed me like I was standing still” gasped the man.

“Yap.” The farmer was now a bit irritated.

“Three legged chicken” exclaimed the rich man.

“Yap” sighed the farmer, perhaps a bit more irritated than before.

“Where do they come from?” asked the man.

The farmer gave up on readin and folded the paper down in his lap, staring right at the man.

“We raise ’em” answered the farmer.

“Why?” asked the man

The farmer sighed again and said “Ma wants a leg, the boy wants a leg, I want a leg: three legged chicken.”

The man thought about this and it did sound like a good idea. So he asked “Well, how do they taste?”

“Don’t know” sighed the farmer as he resumed readin, “We ain’t never caught one.”


There was once a fella that decided that he was going to get himself a car before he died, so he went on into town. The thing was the only vehicles he had ever used in his entire life had been stick shift, and he wanted something nice, so the dealer sat him down in a spiffy two door coupe and let him take it out for a spin.

When the dealer saw the wreckage, this is how he recounted the events.

Walll, when that man set me down in the seat I asked him where they put the clutch, and he said this here is a new kinda car that don’t need no clutch. He said all I gotta do is move this here lever and it will go for me.

So I looked at it. It was a nice looking car, and I’ve had Fords, and I’ve had Chevys, but I ain’t never had a Perundle before. So, I look at it and right there across the steering column they gotta a plastic thing with its name on it: PRuNDDL. Beautiful.

So I decided I wanted to see what this car can do and I put that lever right down the middle on N. It made a lot of noise but no matter how much gas I gave it she just sat still, so I figured N was for Noise. Then I saw another car at the light ahead, so I dropped it down into Drag #1, and it rolled right out there next to him. He looked at me and I looked at him and he smiled at me, then the light turned and it was on.

He took off like a shot so I dropped it down into Drag #2 and caught up to him, then I dropped it into Loud and made so much noise he looked up just long enough I could get past him.

Well he and I was going to it far a while, and then while he was behind me I decided to end it then and there, so I dropped it down into Race and when I left he was still pickin his teeth out of the windshield.

Taking it to heaven

Well there was this man who loved his money, In fact he was particularly inamoured with gold bars: he liked the way the felt, their heft, their touch, everything. And he was getting on in years and really could not bear the though of leaving them behind when he went on to heaven.

And so he talked with the LORD and eventually the LORD gave in and gave him permission to bring them along with him when he died.

At the gate of heaven, he comes on up to Saint Peter, draggin a suit case behind him.

“What’s in the case?” asks Peter.

“”Oh” said the man, “something I simply cannot do without.”

“Well you know it isn’t allowed” offered Peter gently.

“I got permission from the LORD himself” said the man.

And when Peter checked the books yes there was a note that the man could bring in his stuff with him. So Peter calls an angel to show him to his new home and as the man is pulling the suitcase after him Peter asks “Would you mind, sir. I am just so curious! What exactly is it that was so important to you that you could not leave it behind?”

“:Oh would you like to see?” asked the man excitedly. “Here, touch one of these. Look at how pretty they are!” and he opened the suitcase to show Peter all his pretty gold bars.

“Oh very nice” smiled Peter gently “You brought along some paving bricks”.

Cardboard box

Years ago I heard a tale of a prominent dairy farmer and her little milch maid who worked for her. They got along all right and all that, but eventually the little maid passed away and went to heaven and soon after her mistress died as well.

So at the gate of Heaven an angel greets this prominent dairy farmer and takes her to see her new home. They’re takin’ as they walk and the angel points out various sites along the way, and they come to the milch maid’s home and it is nice — picket fence, neat yard, some pretty flowers in a bed.

So the farmer is thinking if her milch maid rates a nice place like that then she will have a really nice place herself, and she is really enjoying the walk. They go on down through the city streets, out into the suburbs, and down a country road.

The pasture smells so nice and the air is fresh and the trees are leafy and, well everything is so very pleasant as the country can be. So they turn off the road onto a dirt path, and down the path to a field, and through the field to a gate and on the other side of the gate there sites a cardboard box under a tree.

So the angel says to the woman “Well, here we are. what do you think.”

And the woman says “What do I think about what?”

And the angel says “You new home, your house. Here.”

So the woman says “It’s a nice enough field, sure it could be built here.”

And the angel says “No there. Under the tree. ”

So now the woman understands that the box under the tree is her new house, and she is a bit displeased. Seeing her unhappy, the angel says “Madam, please. You must understand: we did the best we could with the money you sent on ahead.”

 PayPal Button

Now I hope your day is a bit happier! We here at Adult Life Training are an all volunteer team. None of us gets a salary from the work we do, no not since the beginning over a decade ago. But the people we help learn skills so that they can get and keep a real job without continuing to be a burden to the taxpayers are (by definition) unemployed and poor: the gas or bus fair to get to our computer lab is often a hardship for them and some do go hungry.

If you would like to send just a bit to heaven ahead of you, we are a good place to help. We will use what you give for the benefit of the community, not for our own enrichment, and we will be happy to send a tax receipt if you give more than a few dollars. PayPal has provided a button above to take you directly to their secure payment page where you may give whatever amount you feel lead of God to invest in our work. PayPal keeps the first 30 cents and 3% after that, so we will get about 60 cents if you give a dollar, or 1.60 if you give two. Of course we get all of the money if you feel lead to mail us a check!

Our PayPal button is in the upper left of our web page, and our mailing address is; Adult Life Training, Inc., c/o Abundant Life, 3301 E Coliseum Blvd, Room 135, Fort Wayne, IN 46805 USA

Thank-you for letting us into your mind-space for a few minutes, and may God bless.


The least effective, lowest level of leadership, is positional leadership. This is the level at which subordinates are forced to obey your orders, only because you are their superior. Most people begin at this level, but only poor leaders remain here: they breed rotting moral and resentment and can actually harm the organization. Most leaders soon develop relationships of mutual respect with their direct reports so that they are followed not because their subordinates have no choice, but because their subordinates are willing to take direction from them. This is the second or “permission” level.

In time some leaders gain further respect from their subordinates because of their own personal productivity, that is, people follow you because of what you have done for the organization. At this point people pitch in willingly and problems get fixed easily because people are beginning to believe in you. Many managers will never grow above this level. Some will never reach it.

The levels above productivity are “personal development’, where people follow you because you are developing their capabilities, not just using them, and “personhood”, where people follow you because of who you are and what you represent.

I published more on this at http://alt-fw.org/public/?s=leadership some years ago, but it is still useful today.

Leadership also involves followership. When you are leading people, try to lead not bully. If the only way your direct reports will follow you is because they have no choice, and it’s been like that for a long time, then maybe you need to consider changing your line of work. If most of your people follow willingly, but one subordinate simply fights your every direction, then perhaps that subordinate would be happier elsewhere.



This drug is really bad: we will not show photos of the result: limbs literally turned gangrenous from the inside out and rotted off with bare bone hanging out and rotting dying meat hanging from the bone. This drug kills the addict within 1 year. No exceptions so far. No cure.

It started in Russia around 2011, and spread through Europe. Apparently Krokodile has arrived in the US. This is a no hope addiction — one hit, permanent addiction: life expectancy 1 year maximum. Rots the flesh off the addicts at the injection site.

We saw this two years ago, starting in Russia and sweeping across Europe, but now it is here.





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