15 April 2009
"Party Like It's 1773" On a sign at the Tax Day Tea Party
On the way in
"What kind of party did you say it was?" my son asked after a simplified oral lesson with many references to the Schoolhouse Rock videos.
"It's a party of angry people." That must have confused him, since he spent the rest of the party playing on the jungle gym and everyone was pleasant and having a good time.
At the party
The concept of the Economic Stimulus Package is something that I can't expect my six and four-year-olds to understand. But they can understand that people who are upset at the government, who we just elected not six months ago, have every right to get together and raise a stink. This is something they can relate to. It's okay to say you're not happy, and it's your responsibility to change it with your vote.
The kids are learning a lot about responsibility these days. Responsibility for feeding the dog, picking up after themselves, the Bill of Rights being not just rights but responsibilities. We're slowly evolving from the euphemism word of job to this more complex word. "It's not my job" is something I say to them. "Why do you write? Why do you teach?" It's my job. But not really, it's my responsibility.
The kids more easily see the consequences of failing to be responsible when they hear their friend failed to lock the chicken coop and all the chickens got eaten and now there are no eggs. To parallel this to something more vast, more complex, such as the Economy, which to date has been reduced to "working, buying, and selling," is a much harder connection to make.
"So, mom, the people who gave our money to other people, did they take it from us, or did we give it to them?" asks my daughter on our walk home.
Insert discussion on taxes, and more references to Schoolhouse Rock. If I could explain so many things as phenomenally as the Schoolhouse Rock people, I think I'd be independently wealthy.
"The point is," I summarized, "we gave them money to do certain things, and they are doing other things without our permission."
"Uh-oh." Long pause. "Well, I had fun on the playground, and I made a new friend."
It was a party, after all.