Seeking Happiness During the Holiday Season


Those affected most dramatically by the recession won’t be reading this column or any other. They are too busy trying to survive under extraordinarily stressful circumstances. They are children. In fact, the average age of a homeless person in the United States is 9 years old.

According to a 2010 report by the American Psychological Association, more than one in five U.S. children live in poverty, the highest incidence in 20 years and one that exceeds most other developed countries. The number is rising. But, as the economy recovers, many of these children will not.

Poverty affects the brain. The stress of homelessness diminishes a child’s attention to positive learning. In addition, there is less opportunity for education either at home or in school because the family is focused on something more basic: survival. Poor nutrition and even lack of ready food also contributes. All of this leads to a slower progression in skill acquisition.

Children in poverty are left behind their peers. This effect can be compounded as time goes by. Research that supports these statements can be found in the American Psychological Association article.

This problem is not one that the affected children will suffer alone. It is one that future Americans will experience as well. This is because the once impoverished children will have an enhanced risk of participating in violent crime and drug use. Those changed by their behavior will be our own children. They could be affected directly by being the victim of crime, or indirectly by being forced to pay higher taxes in an attempt to contain increased felonies.

This is why helping these children now will benefit not only us by making us feel better. It also will also aid the innocent families caught in our economy’s downturn. A consequence of that help is that our children will benefit in ways that we cannot imagine.

So, for those with ready cash who won’t need it later, this is one good option for using it. It can make an improved life for others and make us feel better too.


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