Playing nicely

With three children aged 6 and under, basic morality figures largely at home. Encouraging sharing, manners and fairness, and discouraging the resolution of disputes by brute strength are high on the agenda. Perhaps because a lot of my time is taken up with drumming these fundamental concepts into my offspring, the current political and economic backdrop seems even more a grotesque cartoon than it otherwise would.

The “Toddler’s Code of Ownership” has been floating around for years. It’s absolutely spot on, and it still makes me laugh. Luckily, children outgrow the phase, and learn (more or less) to cohabit their spaces with some degree of civilisation.

Listening to the news with increasing feelings of impotence and outrage, I found myself idly (and, I daresay fatuously) substituting the names of various current bugbears into the title. One could wish that bankers, politicians, contractors et al had retained their toddler lessons on how to play nicely.

1. If I like it, it’s mine.
2. If it’s in my hands, it’s mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
4. If I had it a week ago, it’s mine.
5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.
8. If I think it’s mine, it’s mine.
9. If it’s near me, it’s mine.
10. If it’s broken, it’s yours.


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