Family Budgets and the Trap of Poverty
Sociology and the Real World
Students in Sociology had a unique task in class today. We have been talking about poverty in America and how it can be really difficult to rise above the poverty level. Today, students were separated into different family groups. We had the classic American Family (mom, dad, 2 kids), the single parent, a large family with several children, and a couple to name a few. Students were then asked to create a budget for their families based on the information provided to them about their families and income. When it seemed that they had figured out how to stretch their budgets, I would go around and give them a card titled "Life Happens!". These cards had different situations that could arise in a normal family like a car breakdown, medical cost, or appliance repair. The students quickly realized how difficult these unplanned situations can be on a budget and how it can keep people in a poor financial situation.
As the adult in the room, it was rather entertaining to hear some of the ways that teenagers plan to adjust a budget for an issue. Some of the families came up with a few very creative ways to adjust their budgets and deal with the things "life" threw at them.