Pine Nuts: Poverty, wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony gone |

Pine Nuts: Poverty, wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony gone

McAvoy Layne

Poverty is not a lack of money — poverty is a lack of education. The same can be said about the seven deadly sins.

Education is like a bar of Ivory soap, it’s like that jungle-jim ladder in the park that kids swing across, it’s like popping up and catching a breath of air in the deep end of a pool and realizing you’re not going to drown.

Education begets confidence, and confidence is the great equalizer. Inequality is the wedge that is driving unrest today, not just in this country, but around the globe. So let’s talk about inequality for a moment.

In the world of basketball, one’s chances of becoming a millionaire in the NBA when under six feet tall are about a million to one.

These chances improve incrementally to over seven feet tall when the ratio is reduced to a mere seven to one. The same sort of expectancy for success in this world could probably be drawn from research on parents who read to their kids, are active in their education, and just plain talk and laugh with their kids.

The seven deadly sins as I know them are easy to obtain and difficult to discard, and I think I’ve tried them all on for size except greed, I’ve never cared much for money.

Yes there will be some who will be layabouts all their lives regardless of how much education they receive, but an overall majority will answer the call to mentoring, counseling and general encouragement.

And yet year after year we see education get trounced at the ballot box, the latest example being Amendment 66 in Colorado, which would have provided much needed revenue for one of the lowest ranking states in the Union. “Let them eat kale.”

We’ve had education presidents, education governors and education mayors, but the revenue never ever catches up with the rhetoric.

I understand and appreciate that elderly folks who move from California to Nevada and who have successfully raised their kids and paid in full for their education are not going to get excited about educating another generation of kids in Nevada.

But the reality is, we either build and support schools or we build and support prisons. California continues to spend six times more on prison inmates than on college students, while Nevada, for the second consecutive year, is ranked last in the nation for education.

I have stopped thinking of the poor as “them,” started thinking of the poor as “us.” The preamble to our Constitution encourages us to promote the general welfare.

We instantly see the need to support the victims of the devastating typhoon in the Philippines, and we respond in kind, though we remain myopic to our own emergency as we continue to cut the arts and physical education from our school curricula.

It will take a sea change of support for education to erase poverty and the seven deadly sins, but I am one who believes we’ve got the will to do it.

Oh, and did I mention, Theodore Roosevelt will be holding forth at the Mark Twain Cultural Center and Toccata Guttman Music Hall this Friday evening should you be starving for some living history.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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