I was thinking this morning, about the budget, and the dire economic future which seems to await us, and I wondered, what can we do, to help our children adjust to this new era, this different life? I don't think any of us has yet grasped the significance of these momentous times.
One thing worth doing, I think, is to look at what they are reading. I am so very affected by what ever is on my bedside table, and I am sure my daughters are too. I think of their younger days, and our passion for the Little House books, and remember how cheerfully they endured our very, very broke days, all because it was so Laura!
I'm no expert on ballet books or school stories, but I do know my pony books, and so I'll make my case, if I may, with them. Make it a history project if you have to, or just raid the second hand bookshop or e-bay, but do think about a trip back in time, to the days when materialism was less rife, and some real values lurked beneath the adventure and the dreams come true.
I am blessed with two daughters whose favourite reading matter is older than their mother, but in case you're not, as an example, in the very wonderful series my children call 'the David and Pat books', you will meet David, a very ordinary boy from a working class home, with a passion for horses.
David makes friends with Pat, the privileged daughter of the local Master of Foxhounds, and together they share many adventures with their ponies. The series goes on into young adulthood, and while some dreams come true, reality brings David crashing back to earth in other ways. David has to work hard. He can take nothing for granted, and he accepts his parents' limited circumstances, and loves and admires them for their hard work and integrity.
David reappears, as an adult, in one of my very favourites, 'For Want of a Saddle', but that's another story.
Compare and contrast with the modern equivalent, the 'Chestnut Hill' books.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a Chestnut Hill ADDICT! I can't put them down. But Dylan, Mallory, Honey and the gang are a completely different kettle of wild salmon, believe me. They never don a T-shirt without our knowing its provenance, and that label better be the best. Only Mallory, the scholarship girl, is a little strapped for cash, but that's OK cos her friends are all so totally LOADED they help her get by! The cream of the crop are gathered at Chestnut Hill, the boarding school for wealthy horse lovers.
While the good guy usually wins through, and the bad guy - or girl in this case - the insufferable Lynsey, does indeed have even MORE dosh than the others, as shown by her 'immaculately tailored' ... erm ... everything.... nevertheless, knowing how fertile, not to say febrile, the girlhood imagination is, I've got to say that in today's climate, the pony mad girl would be way better with David and Pat, and the solid, English values of courage in adversity, frugality, and cheery perseverance, than all the catered social events and hired in fancy dress that Chestnut Hill has to offer.
So today's recession tip is : what are we reading, and is it helping us to feel positive about the challenge to come? As adults, we could do worse than fall back on my beloved Miss Read (I'm hoping to start a read along on a dedicated blog, soon) and her solid village values, and of course the redboubtable Nella Last and her wartime (and peacetime) perseverance and public spirit. Maybe we could encourage our children to find the same inspiration in the books of yesteryear - anyone want to suggest alternatives for other genres?
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