We first met #Latarian Milton in 2007, at the age of 7, when he was arrested for taking his grandmother’s car on a joy ride and crashing it. He told the police he liked to do “#hoodrat stuff.” According to the grandmother, he lived with her because his parents were abusive to each other, and consequently, he was acting out.
Following his arrest instead of getting help, he never got any consequences for stealing. Instead he was made into a celebrity, did several interviews, and TV appearances. Fast forward to 2018, he was arrested for armed robbery and carjacking.
Obviously, everyone that grows up poor doesn’t end up doing hoodrat stuff. Laterian’s life experiences are a clear example of what I call, psychological poverty. He had access to food, shelter, clothing, but he hadn’t been able to overcome the mindset to do, hoodrat stuff. I don’t think that if we had given his grandmother more money, he would have taken a traditional approach—adopted middle-class values, graduated from high school or college, and become a law-abiding citizen.
The issue, as I see it is, is a failure to address and overcome psychological poverty. What type of intervention did Laterian receive to overcome inadequate parenting, rejection by his abusive biological parents, a culture that promotes acceptance by your peers if you do hoodrat stuff, and a media climate that puts a 7-year-old on TV for doing hoodrat stuff?
What’s your take on how best to overcome psychological poverty?
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6