By Susan Pye Brokaw, LMFT

Founder, Adlerian Network

Adler stated that work is one of three tasks that every person must deal with.  Work gives a person a sense of self-esteem for their accomplishment.  When out of work, many feel that their value and worth are diminished because they are unable to support themselves and their families.

When I started out as a social worker, I became very aware of the problems when welfare reform was established.  Many will not know of the problems associated with that reform.  I noticed that this reform helped to support families with dependent children.  However, to get that assistance, the father had to be out of the home.  This forced men to leave their families in order to get this assistance.  This was the beginning of the break-up of the family.

The other thing that became apparent to me, based on client reports, was that women could not afford to get a job.  The job paid less than they would get on welfare and they would have to pay for child care.  This forced them to be taken care of by the government when they wanted to support themselves.  

This program did not give people a hand up but instead a handout.  This led to generations of people in poverty, especially minorities.  It affected their self-esteem, their self-worth and broke up families.

Regardless of your political preference, it is important to be grateful that the poor, especially minorities, are going back to work.  There are many new plans that are empowering these people to become financially independent.    

Finally, there are efforts to help people become financially independent, allowing them to increase their self-esteem and feel worthwhile as they take pride in supporting their families.  As there is so much negativity about what is going on in our country, this is something to celebrate.