Fallout for Families

Like you, I’ve been following the volatile developments in the financial markets closely for the last couple weeks.  I have to admit that I’ve been more focused on how all these changes will impact me and my family than on how they might impact family life across America.  I read a story by the Wall Street Journal’s Sue Shellenbarger (author of the blog “The Juggle“) today that gave me a wake-up call.

Sue’s story, titled “Another Casualty Emerges From the Crisis: Family Time,” is worth a quick read (found it online here).  Beyond explaining how the economic crisis will force many parents to give up on their dreams of work-family balance, she suggests that fewer parents will have the opportunity to volunteer time as they are forced to spend more time on paid employment.

A friend suggested the other day that our children may grow up with the same outlook at the children of the Depression.  While I don’t think it’s going to be that severe, most school-aged kids are going to pick up on the fact that something big is going on and will want to understand what and why.  The thing I’ve found frustrating is attempting to explain what went wrong.  I’ve been a student of business my entire life, and yet I cannot give an explanation that is sufficiently succinct to satisfy my two older kids’ curiosity without exceeding their attention spans.  I talk, they listen, they cock their heads, I try again, and finally they give me the “okay Dad, we don’t need to know” look and walk away.

Last week’s events will leave a lasting mark on our economy and, in most cases, our families and children.  How are you handling this conversation with your kids, and what resources have you found to give them an age-appropriate explanation?


4 Responses to Fallout for Families

  1. Jason Savage says:

    My daughter is just about 12 months old, so i use a graph made of peas and carrots.

    Kidding aside, that is a tough one, but it does seem like on a very basic level it’s about “not living beyond your means” or “dont let your eyes get too big for your stomach”. Seems like that’s what the sub-prime participants were/are up to as well as the banks who got caught up in the packaging (i think i read that some of them were in 30:1 debt situations. Can that be right?).

    Pyshced to see your blog, John, Good luck!

  2. Jackson Z. says:

    Just curious how your million dollar give a way is sitting with you now. And, the notion of a dollar for each name-I am curious if folks have caught on to the fact that you have put the a buck as their worth. As an MBA I am curious if you have regrets or are changing tack. That is a bundle with such stiff competition out their. Ivillage has never put a value on their visitors have they? Was it a dollar? Just curious??

  3. I was amazed to hear today that Schoolpulse is buying names and spending 1 million on them. Shame School Pulse.

  4. John Boynton says:

    Hi Bev – Not sure what you mean by “buying names.” If you mean the promotion by which we are giving money to schools, I’d hardly call that buying names. We’re offering an incentive to get people to try give SchoolPulse a try – and earn a dollar for their kids’ schools at the same time. Quite a bit easier than existing programs like Box Tops which require a lot more effort just to earn a dime for the school. Feel free to email me if you would like via help@schoolpulse.com.

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