The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Greedy Play

The preschool that my sons attended succeeded, I think, because teachers there kept their message simple. The children could pretty much do what they wanted as long as they were safe, kind and clean.

Those three words became an easy way to explain, without lecturing, when a child's behavior had become unacceptable – either it was dangerous, messy or hurtful. My sons are older now, one in grade school, the other in high school, but I still need simple words to explain a lot of what they face in the world. The current economic crisis, for example, that fuels doom-and-gloom speculation by talking heads on TV and screaming headlines in the newspaper has not escaped their notice.

When they ask me what is happening, I hear the fear in their voices. I'm afraid, too. But how to explain the complicated, convoluted series of events that has brought our country perilously close to collapse when so many adults themselves don't understand?

I think back to the preschool and consider simple phrases that explain how we got here and finally settle on one word: greed.

Greed seems to be at the heart of every level of the debacle that has brought us to this point.

Greed pushed housing prices to record levels forcing families to pay too large a percentage of their income for a slice of the American dream.

Greed blinded buyers who purchased homes larger and more expensive than they could afford.

Greed motivated mortgage brokers and banks to make – encourage even -- so many risky loans.

Greed fueled a market system that allowed the sale of assets backed by mortgages inflated beyond the declining value of those homes.

Greed even seems to explain the posturing going on right now in Washington, D.C. where two presidential candidates – neither elected yet – have allowed their campaigns to further complicate efforts to resolve the crisis.

Greed is a word my sons understand.

They've been guilty of a little greed in their short lives and so have I. So when we criticize the system, I tell them, we have to accept some of that criticism ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes, though, just like the kids did at the preschool years ago. Maybe next time we'll chose to play in a way that is safe, kind and clean. 

By Laura-Lynne Powell


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Eloquently, and simply, said.
I got linked to this article because I have google alerts. This simple little internet device links me to anyone who posts the title of my books, my preschool or my name. I was alerted that you wrote about "Safe, Kind and Clean" which is the motto for my preschool philosophy and subsequently the title of my early childhood book. I don't recognize your name, so I am wondering how far the teaching has reached. (How exciting!)

Please respond if you can to

Thanks for your article. My own children, now 21 and 18 still live by those simple concepts, as do I.

If only we could get them to simplify in Washington.

I was reminded yesterday that the desire for wealth and security is not bad. It is the unfairness for more than we have earned; taking unfair advantage of others that turns prosperity to greed.
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