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December 06, 2005


Phil Nash

You have found out a dirty little secret. Many in the United States are poor. Most of the world is poor. The United States uses far more than its share of resources and is living on a credit line extended mostly by Asian countries. When the credit line is cut, our economy is in for a big hit, and many of us will be poor.

I remember seeing materially poor people in Haiti years ago. The lack of nice clothes and material objects is, unfortunately, sometimes equated with a lack of intelligence or moral authority (I'm sure you've heard the refrain "if you are so smart, why aren't you rich?"). This is not to say that the poor should be idealized as being "above materialism," as no one WANTS to be poor. But you are seeing that poor people, like rich people and the ever-decreasing pool of "middle class" people, are extremely diverse and complex.

Your job as a teacher is not only to bring these kids the skills they need to survive but also the hope and confidence they need to make their way in a world where they might not feel empowered and accepted. It's a tall order, but I am sure you are up to the task.

Don't try to enjoy the holidays with guilt, but don't try to enjoy them without remembering these kids and their world, either.

Keep yourself strong so that you can continue to be there for the kids.

 	freelance writing

that is funny)

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