Children's Literature

From What Is It To Be Educated?, Children and Economics

C. Hanford Henderson

First Published: 1747;
Source: The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest, Edited by Upton Sinclair, John C. Winston Company, 1915;
HTML Markup: For in 2001.

ONE will not talk economics in any formal way to children. It is not necessary. But one cannot avoid the economic implications upon which our current daily life and all history and literature quite obviously rest.

Children are very explicit in their interest. They want to know what the hero feeds upon, how he is dressed, where he sleeps. If great deeds are in prospect, wars to be waged, palaces to be built, pleasure parks to be laid out, princesses to be won, tourneys to be run off, the little reader has a keen eye for the sinews of war. In every tale worth the telling, the hero sets out with the express purpose of seeking his fortune. Parents and teachers do not have to drag in economics by the heels. They may, of course, ignore the question, and allow the children to grow up wvith confused and medizeval ideas; but if they do so, they fail quite miserably to educate the children in the fundamentals of a moral individual and social life. The bread-and-butter question must be met by each parent and teacher in his own personal life; and in dealing with the children, it must be met constantly and in the most unexpected quarters.