The New Orlean Times-Picayune has a story about a 23 year old single mom who appeared on the Oprah show, destitute from Katrina. A church in the Chicago area offered her their parsonage for free for her and her two daughters and son (now 5, 1, and 4 months). and she moved into it in September.
She had a job back in October, which seemed to end soon after she got it. She subsequently said no to several other jobs (as the article states):
She has since stayed home to raise the children.
A year has effectively gone by, and the church wants its parsonage (a house usually owned by a church for use by its clergy) back. She doesn’t want to go. Complicating the matter a bit, there seems to be a "church said / she said" disagreement about her leaving – was it June (the church) or December (the mom). She says that she has no money to go anywhere.
The story does say a single mom – no mention of a boyfriend coming up with her from New Orleans. So I will ask the hard question: Where’s the Dad? The answer is "Who knows?" (certainly not from the story – no mention at all). So I will assume the worst – he skipped out.
Oh, but Skip, you’re being judgemental, you mean spirited conservative Republican who, in this case, REALLY wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater for bringing it up.
My answer is that this question is not being asked enough; the discussion on this has been put away too many times because it is too sensitive. It is judgemental and rightfully so, this affects kids. I applaud Bill Cosby (still love his "Noah" bit after all these years) for causing a ruckus in the black community about the problems in the black community, among them unwed mothers and men refusing to be fathers (and yes, I am stereotyping here based based on the names of the mother and offsprings – the story doesn’t say but they certainly aren’t from my Irish or Swedish background).
So why isn’t Dad in the picture, providing for his family? What is it about a lot of men (or should I just call them kids?) that they feel that they do not have to provide for what they have created? Is it just a "all about me" mentality, or is it just a lack of maturity and a willingness to take responsibility for one’s actions (and their results)?
Andy why do we let them get away with it?
TMEW and I ran a daycare for a while and we saw this a lot. There were some single moms that were trying to use the system in a positive way – subsidized childcare for their kids, she went to school, food stamps, subsidized housing, worked part time, the works. These moms came out on the other end being self-supporting, decent places to live, and the kids doing well. Life (and a couple of poor decisions) had them miss the first reach for the American middle class brass ring, but they took responsibility for themselves, sacrificed for their kids, and grabbed it the second time around.
There were others at our daycare, however, seemingly just like the the mom in this story. They gamed the system….living with a boyfriend (often serial boyfriends) but not telling the welfare system (a real no-no). Instead of working with the system paid for by us taxpayers as the single moms did above, they used the system. They just lived their lives, not trying to get out of their rut, just hanging around all day (trust me, I heard the stories). Why should they reach for the brass ring themselves, when they didn’t have to lift a finger.
What I heard often was "Oh, I’m staying home with my children to raise them"…..sure, that’s why I saw them brought in first thing in the morning and some of the last to leave in the evening. My beef: gee, my wife worked when my kids were small and so did a lot of my friends’ wives – what makes these folks so special?
But I digress, so time to go back to the story – one year later, no change in the situation except it is one year later. The mom is claiming victimhood ("I’m not asking them to give me money, I just don’t have a roof to put over my children’s head.").
You know, some folks cared – they cared a lot, as I am quite sure that more was done for this family than just offering them a parsonage. However, I see no evidence of the mom taking this opportunity to try to better herself or the situation for her kids.
Instead, I see just another instance of an entitlement mentality – somebody take care of me, regardless of my choices in life. I am afraid that until society forces her to take care of herself, she won’t.
A hand up is not a hand out.