Saturday, February 16, 2008

An Ordinary American Tests the American Dream

Christian Science Monitor:

In a test of the American Dream, Adam Shepard (pictured above) started life from scratch with the clothes on his back and $25. Ten months later, he had an apartment, a car, and a small savings.

The effort was inspired after reading "
Nickel and Dimed," in which author Barbara Ehrenreich takes on a series of low-paying jobs. Unlike Ms. Ehrenreich, who chronicled the difficulty of advancing beyond the ranks of the working poor, Shepard found he was able to successfully climb out of his self-imposed poverty.

He tells his story in "
Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream." The book, he says, is a testament to what ordinary Americans can achieve.

15 Comments:

At 2/16/2008 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool and inspiring story that should be a must read for all high school students! Congrats to Mr. Shepard on showing us all that the American Dream is alive and well.

I wonder though, what would have been the outcome if he had an illness requiring hospitalization? Would he to have become one of the many to declare bankruptcy due to medical expenses?

 
At 2/16/2008 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would he have qualified for Medicaid? I'm not trying to troll...I'd really like to know.

 
At 2/16/2008 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a saying that attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Mr. Shepard has demonstrated that he has the following qualities:

the ability to discipline himself
the ability to take responsibility for oneself
the ability to set realistic goals
the motivation to work towards a goal
the confidence to make decisions
strong belief in his own abilities
a positive attitude
the courage to risk failure
the ability to ask for help when one needs a hand

We can teach our children to develop the life skills to enable them to reach their full potential and become confident and capable adults.

I have been reading 2 amazing writers Henry Cloud & John Templeton who have written a series of books including Boundaries which won a Gold Medallion Book Award. Just finished The Mom Factor as well as Boundaries.

Highly recommend these books which are useful to help build better relationships within a family or on the job and help overcome negative experiences.

 
At 2/17/2008 8:19 AM, Anonymous marmico said...

For every Adam Shepard there are 10 Casey Serins.

The American Dream ain't what it seems. I mean really, Shepard did sleep under a bridge and collect food stamps until he accumulated the rental "nut" ...first, last + security deposit. Imagine, he didn't spend $35 a month on a cell phone. I call it fantasy bullshit, particularly the $5K saved as a mover, until the general accounting office of the united states of america audits it.

 
At 2/17/2008 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Would he have qualified for Medicaid? I'm not trying to troll...I'd really like to know."

Yes

 
At 2/17/2008 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The term "American Dream" make me want to puke.

 
At 2/17/2008 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One important variable that has not been discussed here is mental health. Over 70% of the homeless in America suffer from mental illness. One must also consider that many adults do not learn good boundaries or goal setting skills that can assist them making good choices.

To this extent, I agree that Adam does not reflect everyone. That being said, it does not negate his accomplishments nor the economic opportunities available in the largest economy on the planet.

As Shakespeare once wrote:

"The fault lies not in our stars but in ourselves."

 
At 2/17/2008 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No such thing as an Average American when racism exists.

 
At 2/18/2008 12:05 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"For every Adam Shepard there are 10 Casey Serins"...

Hmmm, so the majority of Americans are losers?

Do the majority of Americans "He flew to Australia in June of 2007 for several weeks, leaving his wife with little or no financial support"?

You have something credible to back this up right?

"Shepard did sleep under a bridge"...

What part of the Christian Science Monitor article was that part in?

During his first 70 days in Charleston, Shepard lived in a shelter and received food stamps...

Maybe marmico you should do a little more homework before you try to B.S. someone else...

anon @ 2:10 p.m. says: "One must also consider that many adults do not learn good boundaries or goal setting skills that can assist them making good choices"...

Good point but who's fault is it that these adults didn't learn these very basic skills?

Another whiner blubbers @ 10:44 AM: "The term "American Dream" make me want to puke"...

Why don't you try the Liberian or Nigerian dream instead? No one is forcing you to stay in the US of A...

Oh! oh! Yet another Obamazoid @ 2:43 PM petulantly whines: "No such thing as an Average American when racism exists"...

Poor baby! If its so trying here in this country maybe Canada looking for another loser...

 
At 2/18/2008 9:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juandos,

"who's fault is it that these adults didn't learn these very basic skills?"

I am only just learning many of these life skills that are essential to developing strong interpersonal skills and attaining one's full potential. It's a lot easier to learn if you are young.

The developmental stages of a childhood and adolescence are not a subject that many parents understand. Parents are human and they can make mistakes.

Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend have written some very useful books on the subject of interpersonal relationships, boundaries, child raising and family breakdown. The material is presented in a christian context (I'm not big on religion) and is very practical and helpful.

These books have been very helpful to me and I hoped that they might be useful to help someone give their child a better start or to help move on with their lives.

Generally, the vast majority of self-help books could be torched without any loss to mankind. These books are an exceptionally good starting point for understanding yourself and others.

Anon. 2:10

 
At 2/18/2008 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

juandos said...

"For every Adam Shepard there are 10 Casey Serins"...

Hmmm, so the majority of Americans are losers?

No, that means for every one person that pulls themself out of poverty 10 prefer to take the route of fraud and other criminal activities (like lying on no doc loan applications for example.)

Fucking moron.

 
At 2/19/2008 7:30 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Anon. 2:10 offers up these two names: "Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend"...

Thanks for these names...

"I am only just learning many of these life skills that are essential to developing strong interpersonal skills and attaining one's full potential. It's a lot easier to learn if you are young"...

Hmmm, this is interesting since in the fifties and early sixties these were pushed hard by my parents and the parents of everyone I grew up with...

The pathetically sad anon @ 11:45 p.m. makes yet another idiotic statement sans any credible back up: "No, that means for every one person that pulls themself out of poverty 10 prefer to take the route of fraud and other criminal activities (like lying on no doc loan applications for example.)"...

So who's the moron here?

 
At 2/19/2008 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

juandos,

Your welcome. Part of the reward of finding something really useful is being able to share it with someone else.

We cannot change our past or even what happened a moment ago. It does help to understand our experiences and put them into context from which we can learn and grow.

 
At 2/19/2008 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juandos,

Should have written "You're welcome". My english is getting rusty these days.

Pardon moi,
Anon. 2:10

 
At 2/20/2008 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oh! oh! Yet another Obamazoid @ 2:43 PM petulantly whines: "No such thing as an Average American when racism exists"...

Poor baby! If its so trying here in this country maybe Canada looking for another loser..."


Juandork, please stop talking, you're embarrassing yourself.

 

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