I have a friend whose seven-year-old son just finished completing a relatively hard puzzle. It took him three weeks.
Two days ago, in a tantrum, he threw something at the table holding the puzzle and the entire thing fell apart.
He stormed over to his mom (my friend) and demanded that she put the puzzle back together for him. It had, after all, taken him so long to complete and he was entitled to a finished puzzle after all his work.
She declined. Instead, she offered to help him rebuild the puzzle, but still made sure he would be the one picking up the pieces so that he learned a lesson: when things are going bad, don’t take it out on the things that are going well.
I’m no economist, but this seems like a pretty solid way to deal with the current economic crisis.
Instead of bailing out the big banks and auto makers — rebuilding their “puzzles” (see: businesses) they destroyed in times of uncertainty by throwing money instead of good business practice at them — we should perhaps work with them to find innovative ways to reconstruct their businesses through foresight.
You know, help them learn that instead of coming to mommy for a bailout, they should take a bit of pain and fix their problems through innovation, consolidation, and a bit of elbow grease.
Then again, I’m no economist. I just know a lot of good parents.