Multi-Generational Charity in Toronto

The Toronto Star features a family that has depended on its Christmas charity boxes for three generations.

The grandfather, though earning only a security guard's wages, decided to have seven children.

So, his daughter, Ivy Chrysler, now 50, starting receiving the boxes since when she was five years old.

Her eldest daughter started receiving the boxes when she was two and now her children get them -- as do the grandchildren of Ivy's twin sister, Sydney Mead.

What has gone wrong in this family? Obviously Ivy's father and mother, either unaware of or unwilling to use birth control had more children than they could afford to provide for.

Ivy is now a widow without the income a husband would normally provide and she says that after she was married her husband went back to school so that they were short of funds during that time. But she still went ahead  and had a child when she couldn't afford to do so. And now her children are are in the same boat.

Ivy and her sister are not immigrants nor are they members of a visible minority. So it would seem safe to say that their families' financial problems are clearly due to a problem of family culture. Also, perhaps, it is a problem of community culture since she grew up and still lives in a part of Toronto that is traditionally the home of poor people.

How to Learn New Skills

Source: How To Be A Programmer (edited)

Learning new skills is the greatest fun. Most companies would have better morale if they understood how much this motivates people.

1. Books and classes are good but humans learn by doing.

2. A good mentor is better than a book.

What can you offer a potential mentor in exchange for their knowledge? At a minimum, you should offer to study hard so their time won't be wasted.

3. Formal training is good but usually not better than the same amount of time spent playing with the skill you want to learn.

But it is easier to ask for training than playtime.

4. You have to do a small project before you can do a large one.

If you lead people, assign them projects that are the right size and offer to exercise the skills they want to develop.