Is Poverty Killing our Kids?

Child sitting alone, Suzanne Tucker /

Child sitting alone, Suzanne Tucker /

Despite all the modern conveniences of the 21st century, our information-saturated culture, an exhaustive supply of self-help books, and giant advances in medical technology, doesn’t it seem like our society is more stressed, our anxiety higher, and more of our kids prescribed behavior modification drugs?

What if one of the reasons for our strung-out culture was the social, emotional, mental, and physiological outworking of the effects of poverty?

In the latest release of the Shriver Report, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, founder of the California Pacific Medical Center’s Bayview Child Health Center, has found through medical research and experiences of her patients that the stress of poverty can be manifested in alarming behaviors and predispositions.

Letter From a “Demon Possessed” Woman

The Blind and Mute Man Possessed by Devils, Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum

The Blind and Mute Man Possessed by Devils, Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum/Wikimedia

It’s interesting how certain patterns emerge in our lives sometimes. Part of it, I expect, has more to do with awareness than actual coincidence, like when I start seeing blue Pruises (Prii?) everywhere after buying one.

Yesterday I got a book in the mail called Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment by Janet Heimlich. And a couple of days before that I got an email through my website, which I’ll share in a minute.

A while back I wrote a few pieces about my son, Mattias, who is dealing with Asperger Syndrome. The first was about when we told him about his special condition, and the second was about the less enjoyable side of Aspergers: the meltdowns. Third was one about his tendency to obsess his way into an emotional knot.

More than just telling the story of a rather remarkable kid, I try with these pieces to work through how to deal with such challenges, and hopefully, how to find God in the middle of it all. I think that both those affected by special needs and those who care for them need the assurance that they’re not the only ones, and I know I always find encouragement from letters I get from folks who appreciate what I’ve shared.