The Minerva Moment is defined by the women architects of change as the moment you recognized a problem, identified the solution and pursued it. I can think of one example quite simply off the top of my head, when I realized the parcel I was shipping was over a cubic square foot. Sending it priority mail entailed a surcharge because of its large size. What would have cost $37 to ship to a zone located 5 zones away was correctly priced at $47. I suggested a solution to my customer, that he use the slower cheaper method of Parcel Post mail for less than $20. He was pleased to learn that a delivery confirmation was still available. But I digress, I suppose the women architects mean something much loftier than saving money at the local US post office.

Perhaps a Minerva moment is when you realize at the age of 45 you really do want a baby. There is more than one solution to the problem. You could be a fine aunt to children biologically related to you. You could be a warm adult to children not related to you. You could get paid to foster children whose parents cannot or will not care for them. You could adopt a child from here or a foreign country. Or you could look into fertility treatments. Most of the solutions require some real pursuit. I think that's why the women architects of change want to laud Minerva Moments. Many people go through life without taking much time for introspection.

I suppose not even all Minerva moments require INTROspection. Perhaps the problem is outside of yourself. Many you recognize the problem with welfare is that it doesn't really help people in the manner it was intended. It was meant as a social safety net for widowed women with small children, to enable them to raise the kids at a certain standard of living. It has become a culture of disenfranchised underprivileged, ill educated people. When here and again we hear of people raised on welfare who have done well for themselves it is generally despite the program and not because of it.

What would be the solution? For one thing, a living wage. If we give people so little money that they are forced to supplement their income illegally we are demoralizing them from the start. One of the more common ways people supplement their income is by living rent free with family, friends or a boyfriend. I think if young women with children want to live with their parents, that's a nice solution for everyone, and perhaps those recipients would be willing to take less from social services. They may need health care for their baby, and WIC for nutrition, but why give them as much money as a young woman without relatives who is actually trying to live off of the small amount of money welfare provides? What enrages the taxpayers is seeing their tax dollars spent on night clubbing and party dresses, or worse paying a babysitter $2.00 an hour for substandard care while mom goes out to work for minimum wage, ensuring one more generation of messed up kids.

A young woman without family support may not be able to live off of the meager amount welfare benefits provides, and may think to supplement her income by living at a boyfriend's house. The problem with this arrangement is too many men turn it around and live off of their girlfriend. Unrelated males in the house can spell disaster for vulnerable children. Many end up abused and neglected for the sake of these boyfriends. We wouldn't even have these problems if women didn't feel so stressed about the small amount of money they receive.

One solution: how about free psychological help for people on welfare? Take a psychologist in training, who needs to make some hours anyway, and give them a supervisor and let them try to treat some of the chronically depressed welfare recipients. I think treating people like they are intelligent would be a good start. Too often the free services associated with welfare have more to do with job training. Helping a depressed and emotionally fragile young women get a minimum wage job isn't helping. Getting her some inner strength would be better, then she could decide for herself what she wants to do.

Quite a few of the people I met on welfare didn't do well in school in the first place. Some of them probably have undiagnosed dyslexia, some attention deficit syndrome, many were sexually and physically abused. Address THOSE problems and maybe the cycle of poverty could be smashed. A person with dyslexia CAN learn to read, and that would help them get any kind of job, more than "job training" helps. Better yet, a person aware of their own dyslexia can feel good about themselves and seek jobs such as sales that do not rely so heavily on clerical skills.

For a person with ADD the problem might be best addressed chemically, for a sexually or physically abused person may be what they need most is some post traumatic stress counseling. Any and all of these actions would attack root cause of poverty. Job skills and job training generally do not. IF they did, we would have seen a huge reduction in poverty over the last 30 years. As far back as that politicians in the Midwest were trying to get people off of welfare.

Another issue with helping people get off is the abruptness with which the program exits people. A person who has grown used to section 8 housing is going to feel some justifiable sticker shock when she sees how much the rest of us pay for housing. Granted, once the house is your own the sky's the limit to how nice it is. But the average person getting off of welfare trades a not very nice apartment that was once free, for a not very nice apartment that suddenly costs them a quarter or more of their income.