The news comes blaring into the family room. Occupy Wall Street has been in progress for a month now. Your kids have listened to the news with half-attention as they also checked their social media. The facts of the movement are slowly crawling into their brains. Perhaps it’s time to talk to them openly rather than let the subliminal message affect their thinking.
What do you want your children to learn from the protest?
Some of the protesters’ stated purposes are extreme. One hastily thrown together website listed their demands as having the government provide everyone with universal health care, jobs, and all food and necessities. This is in addition to paying off all student loan debts. Your children need to hear a moderate take on Occupy Wall Street.
1. There are two sides of corporate greed.
Yes, corporate greed is wrong. However, not all business expenditures are greed. Running a multi-million dollar business costs big money. And, yes, the boss needs to get across the country to meetings without spending an entire day in airports. That’s often the reason for the infamous corporate jet.
On the other hand, say to your child, “If you’re ever in a position at the upper level of a company, remember the middle class, hardworking people in your employment. It’s the right thing to do. If you treat them with compassion and make them feel good about working for you (financially and otherwise), most of them will support you rather than marching in protest.”
2. Success does not come from handouts.
Free handouts seldom help people improve their status in life. Many protesters in the Occupy Wall Street movement want to be taken care of by the government. Say to your child, “How many potential job contacts can a person make in one month if he or she leaves the protest and spends the same amount of time in serious job-seeking tasks? Maybe 5 resumes sent daily and 5 people contacted face-to-face daily?” I consider those low estimates, yet they would result in 100 personal contacts and 100 resumes on someone’s desk in one month. The odds of finding a job goes up with those numbers.
3. Work brings success as well as a sense of dignity.
We are all responsible for making our own way in life. Hard work and determination lead to success much more than handouts. There are many stories of people in the very worst life circumstances who made their way to a comfortable middle class or higher lifestyle. Say to your child, “I want you to have compassion for people who truly are unable to work, but know that you will always feel better about yourself if you work rather than idly wait for a handout.”
4. The compassionate side of Occupy Wall Street
The final truth that we must teach our children about the protests against corporate America is that the people standing in the streets need our prayers. We do not want to become like them, but we should not judge them. As we pray for the protesters, we must also remember to pray that our country will return to it roots. One part of the foundation that made this country strong was hard work and pride in a job well done.
Here are a couple of questions for you:
What kinds of questions are your children asking as they watch the reports of the protest?
How are you answering their questions?