Like Barbara from Mommylife, I've been watching David Sutherland's documentary, Country Boys. The film follows two Appalachian teenagers as they struggle with school and home.
It's tough to watch. I'm torn between guilt (there but for the grace of God went I), pity, and outrage. I had assumed the series would be about poverty, but lack of money is not the issue.
It's about the culture of poverty--an entirely different subject. (Not coincidentally, the subject of my husband's ongoing dissertation, too.)
The boys in the film both get, what seems to me, generous Social Security Income checks, enough to subsidize the purchase of a larger trailer, cable TV and utilities, a possible truck payment.
The outrage is that this money--rather than being used to pull the boys out of their situations--actually sinks the families deeper into dysfunction. Because there is sufficient income from SSI, the families need make no effort to improve, to become more responsible parents or citizens. It's a complicated mess, but one worth watching if you have the time. Tonight's final two hours should end on a positive note.