Some people have postulated that it takes a village to raise a child and there’s some truth in that over-used proverb. The community at large does bear some responsibility for teaching the children.
This is a duty that I’ve always taken quite seriously…
Recently, while I was trimming the bushes in what passes for my front yard, some my neighbors stopped to chat as they returned home from walking their dog. During our friendly conversation, I asked their 12 year-old daughter what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President some day.
Both of her parents – Liberals – were standing there, so I asked her, “If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?”
She replied, “I’d give food and houses to all the homeless people.” Her parents beamed with pride!
“Wow…what a worthy goal!” I said. “But you don’t have to wait until you’re President to do that!” I told her.
“What do you mean?” she replied.
So I told her, “You can come over to my place and trim the bushes, pull weeds, and plant some bulbs, and I’ll pay you $50. Then you can go over to the subway stop where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.”
She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?”
I said, “Welcome to the Republican Party.” Her parents aren’t speaking to me.
Hehe…That’s the trick of teaching, as opposed to training or indoctrinating, adding immediacy and personal relevance to the lesson at hand. Children develop a firm grasp of socioeconomic principles amazingly quickly when you do that because even infants seem to understand real fairness.