Geranium Farm Home     Who's Who on the Farm     The Almost Daily eMo     Subscriptions     Coming Events     Links
Hodgepodge     More or Less Church     Ways of the World     Father Matthew     A Few Good Writers     Bookstore
Light a Prayer Candle     Message Board     Donations     Gifts For Life     Pennies From Heaven     Live Chat

Ways of the World

Carol Stone, business economist & active Episcopalian, brings you "Ways of the World". Exploring business & consumers & stewardship, we'll discuss everyday issues: kids & finances, gas prices, & some larger issues: what if foreigners start dumping our debt? And so on. We can provide answers & seek out sources for others. We'll talk about current events & perhaps get different perspectives from what the media says. Write to Carol. Let her know what's important to you:

Monday, May 22, 2006

"Pennies from Heaven": A Gift for the Young Givers

Isn't "Pennies from Heaven" a delightful idea? What a charming way to help children learn giving, stewardship and helping the rest of the world!

Last September, I was in Chicago at another annual meeting of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). A program innovation there was discussion of education, including early-childhood education. Now, why should business economists care about that? Further, one of the speakers was James Heckman, a professor at the University of Chicago who won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 2000 for his work on this topic. I went to find out "why" and to listen to him!

Heckman and other speakers highlighted development in young children; little kids are the most responsive of anytime in their lives from birth to age 5. Forming solid roots during those years is crucial in influencing their later thinking and behavior. The implication then becomes straight-forward: an effective early-childhood experience will reduce the need later for remedial school programs and for law enforcement and correctional efforts. These scholars were reporting on statistical work they have done to establish this as scientific fact. And for business economists the lesson is simply put: money spent on good early-childhood education helps the children be better students and workers and it saves funds that might have to be spent later on the other retro-repair-type programs.

Other psychology studies have shown that young children know quite a bit about money and about the poor. In an intriguing book, The Psychology of Money, Adrian Furnham and Michael Argyle cite work from many countries around the world. They tell that kids as young as 5 and 6 are already "aware of the distinction between personal desires and ownership"; thus it is necessary to interview still younger children to find out when "egocentric ownership attributes" emerge in development. They also explain that when sharing things, pre-schoolers share more readily with those they recognize as poor than as rich. Society has perhaps already taught them that the poor are deserving. The little kids are touched and may feel empathy with them.

At the same time, both the NABE speakers and the book authors traced changes as children grow older. Among at-risk kids, the NABE speakers were concerned about recidivism: the advantages gained in earlier training will fade. Furnham and Argyle explain that as kids grow, their attitudes change toward a more individualistic approach to money matters. So reinforcement of the early, more social approach is desirable, through thoughtful parenting and just such programs as "Pennies from Heaven". Kids and finances, a new topic for me (I'm not a mother), will occupy us again: Allowances and family finances and "but everybody has one!" The Psychology of Money has a whole chapter titled "Possessions": fascinating – and not just about kids' stuff. Stay tuned.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © 2003-Present Geranium Farm - All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any materials on this web site for any purpose
other than personal use without written consent is prohibited.