We cannot solve homelessness until we solve the problem of how we act and behave in social enviroment. There is a rites of passage that each individual must go through to be successful in life. Schools should teach this rites of passage as part of curriculum. We must be taught how to react to policemen, we have to be taught how to act in communities with challenging socio -economic issues. We have to be taught how to put a guard on our tongue, that death and life are often in the power of the tongue. Filters must be placed in the mind through education so we learn not to say everything that comes to the mind, some things should not be said even if it is the truth.Mental illness is often exhibited as the need to say and do exactly what the mind wants without any concern for cause -effect and accountability. One may be emotionally challenged but it is not necessary to act out on those emotional challenges.

           The difference between the social and economic classes is often behaviors. This suggests that behavior determines class stratification. Behavior rules and expectations of society is the responsibility of our education and should be part of a Common Curriculum. The success of the Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Jewish Educational Institutions, Muslim Educational Institutions and Historical Black Church Educational Institutions was that they each taught rules of behavior for society.

The United Military Service receives the credit for turning many boys into responsible men able to function and contribute to society. The military use to have a program of turning a boy into a soldier and fighting machine, deprogramming the soldier and returning men back to families and communities. The number of homeless veterans on the streets of America suggests that there has been some change to the policy of deprogramming. Man has always had to fight and go to war to protect his family and country, but was not been emotionally destroyed by the process. Military service should not cause neurological challenges resulting in dismissal from family settings and homelessness. Some of these behaviors resemble behaviors observed in socially and economically challenged communities, where there is a lack of understanding of positive acceptable human behavior, and individuals respond to emotional hurts by lashing out verbally and physically. Passions are high in challenging neighborhoods and the fight or flight part of the brain is always stimulated. Children in these communities often do not get the adequate amount of sleep required to restore healthy functions to the brain or body. Those who cannot fight or run are often killed in conflict or become collateral damage in the violence of others.

                Individuals that make it to community college or the four – year college experience, learn what has been absent in regular education programs designed for the poor classes, they learn rules of behavior, the rights of passage rules and behaviors required to secure employment and sustain family relations.

                Public schools should reinstate home economics programs including how to care for and set up a home and financially and physically care for the living environment. Employment in the jobs of America and working for the government should be included in educational rites of passage programs. The misunderstanding of the Bill of Rights contained in the constitution should be reviewed and understood, and the concept of responsible speech and behavior should be taught. The poor are often shot because they present as a threat to law enforcement, and the best and the brightest are not always assigned to work in communities with challenging socio economic issues. Today the poor get the worst teachers, policemen, doctors, lawyers, sales people and businessmen. Con artist seeking to extract the few coins from the unsuspected individual exploits the poor; this cannot be solved, it has been around since biblical times, known as moneychangers and tax collectors, those who oppress the poor. This problem can only be solved through education and escape.

             These problems relate to Americans but they are relevant to any group trying to break out of poverty. Jews, Italians and Irish faced the same problems during the early 20th century. The system is design to prevent any movement out of the selected class. Individuals who attempt to break out of the culture of poverty will face many obstacles, including sabotage from members of their own group and own family. Escape is achieved through education, but the cost is dear in terms of old friends and familiar environment, and there is no going back.

Your church, family and friends will reject you once you break out of the culture of poverty. You demonstrate to them that it can be done and that there is something wrong with them and the way they are living their lives; no one likes to be wrong, and the one who changes will be attacked. If you can stand the rejections, until you find your own group, you will be all right. Poverty is an addiction, and the addiction has built into it variable needed by the individual, you may sabotage your success in order to return to the addiction in times of stress. The closer you get to your goal and out of the poverty trap the more difficult the trip will become, victory does come, and the need to get others out is the most challenging emotion you will experience.

The group caught in poverty will silently celebrate your success, and each success motivates and serves as a guide to the next individual seeking to travel the “underground railroad” to freedom. If you think it is about race, you will lose your way, this is class transformation, and class transformation is worse than racism. It is about trying to preserve power and wealth for a select few. There is plenty for everyone, and that is the secret you will discover when you reach your destination.

The Secrets of Wealth

             Wealth is God in circulation, and the more you give away, the more will be returned to you doubled over. The more people you free to travel the wealth track, the more will be given to you in your task of helping others. The question of what will you do with your education should center on how can you use your experience and education to help others? How can you break down the wall of fear and free others from the oppression and addiction of poverty. How can you prevent the poor from attacking others and taking frustration out on society? How can you teach the poor that the system is designed to draw them into behaviors that will prevent them from entering into the forbidden planet? How can the poor and the oppressed avoid behaviors designed to make them felons and left out of the game of wealth? The answers to these questions can become a motivational goal of life, or you can just decide to be the best person you can be and hope that others will see you and your life as a role model. The choice is yours.

America is a second chance society; it is founded on the principle that everyone should have a chance at success. Education in America is like a conveyor belt; you can jump on at any point and jump off when necessary, and jump on again. Many adults had to stop educational careers because of life emergencies, helping parents, marriage, raising children, or just not ready for the challenges involved in a commitment to self. The College of New Rochelle School of New Resources represents the state of the art program for adult students making the transition into the educational environment. The School of New Resources has designed a program for adults returning to college. It does it better than any institution, and is considered the gold standard in adult education. I taught at the School of New Resources for 28 years and was part of a program making it possible for thousands of Americans to transform their lives. Ideas presented here were tried out in the Experience Learning and Identity successfully taught at this outstanding educational and spiritual institution.

           Breaking out of poverty will be the hardest thing you will ever do in your life; the failure rate is very high and the price expensive in the cost of emotional capital. If you are serious you must be prepared to become an immigrant in a new country. You must follow all of the steps taken by immigrants and prepare your self mentally and physically for a journey that will take a toll on your identity and your health.

Individuals who are motivated to leave the land of their birth have at some time made the decision that they cannot survive in their present surroundings, and for the sake of their own well being and the future they must make extreme sacrifices and changes. Carefully research the area you are intending to immigrate; learn the culture, which include behavior traits and expectations, music, foods, shelter, relationships between men and women, and what is acceptable and expected. Identify the leaders of the area to which you are immigrating, and determine how they can help you adjust to the new environment.

Be prepared to change your clothing and physical look with respect to hairstyle and clothing. The last think you want is to stand out like a sore thumb, therefore do a detailed research on what people look like, express them and behave. Just as you would do when planning a trip to a foreign land, check the weather and decide what to pack for the occasion, and what you may need to purchase letter. Pack your bag with all of your worldly possessions, say goodbye to your family and close friends, and accept the idea that once you immigrate to the new country, you will no longer we welcomed into the inner intimate circle again.

If you are strong enough to endure these challenges, welcome to the world of changing social classes and moving out of the culture of poverty. The doorway out of poverty starts with education. There are really two doors, the first door is education and the second door is religion. These are dangerous exit paths, if you select the wrong path in education, you will fall down a dark hole of despair. If you select the wrong path in religion, you will fall down the same dark hole, you will just be shouting and singing. Public schools serving minority and poor students in New York City are path to dark holes. Churches helping you get into heaven as fast as you can with out experiencing the joys of life are also path to dark holes. You will need both the school and the church for your great escape.

There are communities in New York City serving ethnic groups that have strict codes of behaviors in what will and will not be tolerated regardless of mental or emotional challenges. These communities have seen tragedies of all types, and do not give a pass to individuals deciding to work out expressions of grief and frustrations on others. The results is the development of strong neurological strength and stricture behavioral structure not permitting freedom of expression harmful to other in thought word or deed. The human being adjust and adapts to his life and environment and works and wait for changes in conditions. The sense of entilement could not be sustained where survival was the norm of the day.

 I had the privilege of working in several of these communities as a teacher of students with emotional and behavior challenges. I noticed that although the students demonstrated in the classroom and schools, the behaviors, which resulted in their being placed in EH classes, when they left the building and entered the community, they adjusted their behavior to conform to community norms and expectations. The community did not tolerate unexceptable behaviors. The norms of the community were more powerful and effective than the norms of the Board of Education. More research is needed to determine how select communities handle issues of emotional disturbance, and why individuals elect to leave rather than conform. Ethnic communities have their own rites of passage programs, and how they work would have value to other communities struggling with individuals with neurological challenges. 


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