Lately the girls and I have been talking a lot about money. Madison understands money more now, and Reagan is getting to the age where she is aware of money. When we shop, they ask questions.
Do we have money for that?
How much money do you have, Mommy?
Is this expensive?
Reagan is asking from that sort of idle, preschool curiosity. She understands that money is important, but the nuances are lost on her.
But Madison has started, well, almost worrying about money. Not from our own situation, but because of our reading. We've been working our way through all the historical American Girl novels as our read aloud books before bed. Madison loved Rebecca and Samantha and Kirsten and Molly. Immigration, war, women's rights, orphans...all issues that she heard about and handled like a mature girl. She chose Kit as our next girl to learn about, probably because of her outfit. But so far, Kit has inspired the deepest discussions. Kit is the Depression era American Girl. Kit's father loses his job, and the family quickly goes from comfortable to crisis. Kit's family comes uncomfortably close to losing their home, and Kit is ashamed to find her father in a bread line. When the family is facing eviction, Madison started asking a lot of questions about how that could happen, if we owed the bank money, and where we would go.
Deep stuff for a kindergartener.
At any rate, as we started to notice people near the intersection of a mall we frequent, holding up signs. Now that Madison can read, she knew that the signs all said some variety of "homeless and hungry", "need job", etc. She wants to help.
I'm very wary of pulling out cash at intersections, so Madison and I did some research to find other ways to help. She loved the idea of "blessing bags". We put together a few to keep in the car that we can hand out if we need to. So far, we haven't passed an intersection with anyone in need, but when we do, we'll be ready.
How do you handle explaining homelessness to your kids?