Saturday, 2 May 2009

spinning gold into straw...

My husband casually asked my four-and-a-half year old son a couple of months ago what he thought the Credit Crunch was. Much to my astonishment, he knew, without missing a beat (and I quote): "It's when the banks aren't sharing and they don't want to lend to each other." Granted that the child's quite bright, but still...
(I suspected the long arm - or lips rather?! - of the BBC, but quite liked the child-friendly vocab. Luckily I reined myself in at the last moment before quipping, instinctively, "Hmmm....a bit like your sister!")

It did occur to me that Rumplestiltskin - the fairy tale where straw is spun into gold - would also be a good way to explain the whole mess, but only if you reverse it, gold into straw. Now that really would be one way to explain Mortgage-backed-collateralised-debt-obligations...

Anyway, just a day or so ago, my little man piped up asking me what I'd written on my "blog today, when you write stuff on the computer, Mummy".
"Mummy's writing tips for saving money, sweetheart!", I replied, cupping his cheeky grin. He looked up, interested seriousness: "Is that because of the recession?". What to say, except agree and change the subject to avoid getting into a full-blown explanation about what, how and why - gross cowardice, no doubt! - but I'd prefer to wait. Despite the predominance in fairy tales of poor peasants, rich kings, tricksters, the whole straw to gold concept and the multiple pots thereof, I really, REALLY prefer to wait...It's that instinctive whisper trickling inside me, admonishing that children should be full of lighter, more earthy persuits: mud, sunshine, rascally laughter, old-fashioned games and crafts! NOT MONEY, for God's sake - how vulgar!! Not Recession, for Goodness - why darken their perfect innocence!!! (no matter that children have been privvy to harsh realities for millennia).

Nevertheless, I bow to our modern children's 'radar': I really do have to be careful what I say in front of little mister these days. Do we adults underestimate the ability of our children to grasp rather complicated 'adult' concepts and phrases? Granted, children have always heard and repeated, but do they understand a tad too much on top of all that, nowadays? Or is it a sign of the times, of what they're exposed to, conversations, radio, television, media? Or, just possibly, maybe we should simply get them to go out climb trees/make bows and arrows/run around the garden more... like in the 'old' days (rhetorical question)? Maybe then, in their natural element of fresh air and exciting, mucky pursuits, they wouldn't bother wondering about recessions, credit crunches and the like. Or want to grow up too fast and "get a job to help Daddy, because Daddy has to work too hard..." (that one was nipped in the bud before you could fling open the patio door with a: "Out to play football! Out you get, go on!")

1 comment:

  1. When Husband starts talking about the recession I do exactly that same thing - out to play football, go on out...Although you could substitute football for pub here if you're so inclined. MH