The participation of children in family efforts prepare them for life.
I’d like to share my first experiments in business. When I was at a school girl, I spent my summer holidays in the countryside with my grandparents who grew all sorts of vegetables and fruit.They didn’t use herbicides and sometimes hings grew in strange shapes and sizes but they always tasted fabulous and not like te stuff you find in supermarkets that have been grown in artificial conditions.
The family raised chickens, hens, pigs, rabbits, and, for a year or two we even had a cow and a goat that had two adorable kids. My sister and I were involved in everything – we pulled weeds out the lawn and watered the peppers and tomatoes. We helped make homemade ice-cream and yoghurt that we ate with raspberries from the garden. I remember dressing for dirty work and carrying small buckets of food for chickens, grass, hay and pellets for the rabbits and goats.
That wasn’t the end of it – we kept bees. My sister knew how to extract the honeycombs from the frames and I helped spin the centrifuge that drew out the honey which my grandfather poured into great big tubs that were exchanged for copper sheets and wire.
I remember once – I had probably just started school – when I went with granddad to the Cooperative Market in Ruse to sell honey and eggs. Grandad went off somewhere leaving me to guard the stall. Along came a jolly old man who wanted to buy 25 eggs. Together we worked out the total price – I was young and hadn’t had a lot of practice doing sums in my head. That was how I made my first sale. I was very proud and the customer showed his appreciation by letting me keep the change.
It’s sometimes said that nowadays we know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Through play, children can learn to take pride in the results of their personal and collaborative efforts. They can learn patience, generosity and the value of their own ingenuity.