Have you ever heard the so-called Toddlers Creed? The basic gist of it is something along the lines of:
“If it’s in my house, it’s mine. If it’s yours and I’m playing with it, it’s mine. If I see it, it’s mine. If you have it and I want it, it’s mine. If I think I need it, it’s mine.” And so on and so forth. You get the idea.
We all kind of laugh about it, and get a little embarrassed when our child/children provide a wonderful exhibition of the Toddler’s Creed in practice. Still, it is interesting to consider that from the very youngest age we have ideas of personal property. We understand that there are certain things that are ours. As parents, we end up teaching our children that, though there are things which are ours, there are also things which are somebody else’s. We’ve all been there. Your child is sitting there, playing with another child, and all the sudden you realize that he/she has leaned forward and taken the other child’s toy right out of his hands. Your child crawls away to play with the toy. The other kid either looks confused or cries uncontrollably. Mentally groaning, and probably blushing 10 shades redder than normal, you rush forward and attempt to explain to your kid that he can’t just take the other child’s toy.
My question today is–when does that idea of personal property vanish?
Don’t laugh too hard. I’m serious here. At what point do we stop teaching children about personal property and rights? Of all the virtues we need to instill in our children, the concept and value of personal property is right up there. If there is no personal property, than there is technically nothing wrong with walking into a convenience store, helping yourself, and walking right back out without paying. That’s ludicrous, of course. We all jump up and scream and shout that that is stealing. People go to prison for stealing.
Yet when adults who are responsible for a 15 trillion dollar debt think that the first way to start overcoming that debt is (obviously) to take more resources from those who have managed their finances wisely (i.e. make more than $250,000 a year–according to our brilliant politicians), we call it fair and declare that of course they should foot the bill. After all, they do have the money, and we do need the money. We see it. We want it. We take it.
Operation Revert To Age 1– Status Complete.