Thinking about poverty as I travel

I was giving a radio interview in Ireland during the week and I came to a point in the conversation where I was talking about the transition in my life. What I almost said was Forrest Gump Philosophy – you never know what you are going to get. But I managed to say exactly what I wanted….

You create what happens in your life and you get what you are looking for…

I stand by this as someone who has formerly created drunken, drugged up mayhem but who has created a world where I am now making a difference or at least trying to. I am in charge of the decisions I make and the results are because of them, not any external forces.

Now you might think straight away that this is ridiculous… Why would someone look to be poor? Why would someone create being hungry? Why would someone create being suicidal? Why would you want to be a junkie?

remote village

I suppose the way I look at it is this.

You are born into certain circumstances over which you have no control. You then learn from your parents, siblings and peer friends how to be. If you are born into poverty then invariably you will learn the traits of how to be a poor person from your parents. This most likely will be beyond your control, as you will be too young to notice what habits and ideas you are picking up.

You then spend years recreating the sets of circumstances which you saw your parents in. For many kids we have met living in the slums in Latin America, this is why they are doomed. This is why many people say they haven’t got a chance.

If your parents give you a lot of freedom then you can pick up many habits from your peers. For kids living in poverty, the peer group are normally street wise, tough and up to mischief. Kids learn from them and thus the pattern emerges that they feel comfortable with. They subconsciously assimilate the ideas which make them perpetuate a mode of living which they believe to be right and good.

If their parents don’t teach them or their peers already corrupted lead them down the garden path, then what is really left to save them?

The answer is education.

It might seem simple and common sense, but unless children learn that they create their own lives, that they forge their own destinies, then they will think they want to be like everyone else around them.

Getting out of this mentality trap is almost more important than putting food on the table.

For if there is no shift in awareness, no educating the mind as to what is possible, then whether a child eats in the short term will be out-weighed by the ominous presence looming in the distance – the future with history repeating.

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John Leonard
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2 thoughts on “Thinking about poverty as I travel”

  1. Fantastic blog! This is the kind of stuff I love from fivepointfive! It’s an incredible hard cycle to break when you don’t have options, but for those of us that do, we should take full advantage of them. This, for me, is why travel is so important (especially the kind of travel you promote here). We can grow up with plenty of privileges, but be held up emotionally and spiritually by the habits we form from family and peers. Travel is a great way to shake up that perspective.
    Thanks John!


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