A cautionary tale

There are probably only three or four days in my life that I would change if I could.

The first incident happened on a beautiful spring morning in1959 in Bulawayo, where I was a very new rookie constable on “foot patrol”.

7.15 am and I was standing at a four-way intersection in the city centre where drivers are expected to stop and look before proceeding. I became aware of a vehicle approaching the intersection. There was a three year old child standing on the front passenger seat. The child’s mother, the driver of the car, had an unlit cigarette in her mouth and was scrabbling for the car lighter on the dash board.

In the same instant I became aware of another vehicle starting to back out of a parking bay, into the lane of the oncoming car. The driver was concentrating on waving good bye to a friend on the pavement. The inevitable happened and the vehicles collided.

The really tragic part is that the child in the first vehicle became a missile, flew through the air and smashed though the windscreen breaking his neck in the process. I am sure that everyone who reads this will Identify with the shock, horror and tragedy of what happened.

This morning, some 58 years later I was again standing close to a four-way intersection. Two cars were approaching the intersection from different directions.  There was a young child in each of the cars, both properly in the back of their respective vehicle. The one travelling south had on a seat belt but the child travelling west was standing in the back, between the two front seats.

In that ghastly split second before an inevitable tragedy happens, I realised that both vehicles were travelling too fast to avoid the impact and both drivers were talking on their cell phones. The child who was wearing a seatbelt, apart from being seriously shocked, was unhurt. The child standing between the seats, however, hit the dashboard with her face and will require years of plastic surgery to make her look normal.

It would be pointless to argue the responsibility of each of the four drivers.

What I would beseech you, mothers and fathers alike, is first to make sure your kids are properly secured with a seatbelt in the rear passenger seat of the vehicle you are driving. And then when you are driving, be sure that is all that you are doing. Don’t smoke, especially don’t light cigarettes, don’t talk on your cell or text on it; give your whole attention to what you are doing and think for the other road user who may not be concentrating.

Lastly, and most profoundly, may I caution you that the horror and remorse and guilt which follows being involved in the death or disfigurement of a child is unbearable and has destroyed many lives.

Don’t use your cell phone while driving, even with a hands free set; your mind is on your conversation and not where it should be – on your driving.

Alan Cunningham (Father & Grandfather)

Teach your kids how to make money grow

When it comes to money and kids there is one fundamental lesson most of us fail to teach our children, and that is how to make money grow. Without internalising this lesson and putting it into practise, they only learn how to make money and not how to create wealth.

How to do we teach our children about the magic of compound interest?

Money saved and invested over a long period of time will attract compound interest versus money that is just stored in a jar or stuffed under the mattress.  It should form part of the maths and life orientation curriculum. Compound interest is interest that grows on itself. There is magic in this and we need to ensure our children are touched by this magic if they are to learn the fundamental lesson of wealth creation from an early age.

There are three elements to compound interest:

• Time – the longer you invest your money for the more it will grow

• Amount – the more money you can invest the bigger your growth will be

• Interest rate – this varies, so look for investments that pay good interest rates. Normal savings accounts usually attract low interest rates.

1 Week compound interest experiment

Children are concrete learners and doing something practical and tangible, enables them to learn more effectively. I picked up this exercise for Teaching Kids About the Wonder of Compound Interest using real money from Family Mint. Play this game for one week to prove how compound interest works.

Day 1, have your child “deposit” R1 into an envelope, jar, bag or whatever, and explain that they will be earning interest each day at a rate of 50%.  Depending upon the age of your child, you may have them compute how much they would earn each day.

• At the end of each day, add the “Interest Paid” shown on the column above. Explain that interest is earned on their deposit balance from the prior day. Beginning on the third day, they will earn interest on their interest. This is the compounding effect.

• At the end of 7 days, your child will see their R1 grow to R11.39 because of the positive effects of compound interest!

  Deposit     Interest Paid   Principal + Interest

Day 1               R1.00                    R1.00

Day 2               R0.50                    R1.50

Day 3               R0.75                    R2.25      

Day 4               R1.13                    R3.38

Day 5               R1.69                    R5.06

Day 6               R2.53                    R7.59

Day 7               R3.80                    R11.39

Putting compound interest to work for your child

Create a monthly investment for your child that is going to grow over the years. It doesn’t have to be a large amount. Start with what you can afford and increase the amount, when you can. The secret is to start soon and let compound interest work for you.

Children who receive pocket money or an allowance should be doing four things with their money:

SPEND some money now. Children need to experience what it feels like to use their money on low value items they can afford, eg . for some sweets or an inexpensive toy.

SAVE some for something they want to buy in the future – if kids use their own money to buy things they are likely to appreciate them more and look after these things.

INVEST some in an investment vehicle that attracts a good interest rate. The earlier they get used to putting money away for their future the better. This demonstrates vision and big picture thinking.

GIVE some away to charity – this demonstrates a spirit of generosity and caring.

Grow your child’s net worth…by laying the foundations for creating their own financial freedom one day… START NOW!

By Nikki Bush  Posted May 16, 2016

In Blog, Education & school, Future-proof your child, Maths, Money


When we were kids, gratitude was a fundamental part of our everyday lives; birthdays and Christmas always ended with us sitting down to handwrite thank you notes; play dates and birthday parties were followed by a phone call, thanking our friend and their parents. This was expected, even after we had thanked them at the time.

These habits continued into adulthood; if we were invited to a dinner party we would go along with a small gift for the host or hostess – a bunch of flowers, some chocolates, a bottle of wine – to thank them for inviting us. The day after we would call and express gratitude for the meal and their hospitality.

As the years progressed and technology became ubiquitous, we would e-mail, SMS or WhatsApp our gratitude. This always bothered me somewhat as it seemed impersonal, but I accepted that the times had changed (I must just say that my sensibilities will simply never allow me to thank people for anything significant via Facebook or Twitter!)

Over time, I have witnessed the steady demise of genuine and heartfelt gratitude. Thanks is now expressed as quickly as possible. It is often limited to 3 characters – thx – in a text or e-mail or – more-often-than-not – not expressed at all. This is a tragedy and not simply because the demise of gratitude would seem to be reflected in a general demise of civility and good manners. The real tragedy is that when we lose gratitude, we lose joy.

In their poignant and powerful book, “The Book of Joy” two great spiritual leaders and joy junkies the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu point to gratitude as a key ingredient of a joyful life. Along with compassion for others and the ability to reframe ones’ reality more positively – to see the glass half full if you like – spiritual leaders and psychologists alike agree that a life of gratitude is a life more joyful. This is why we see the current trend of gratitude journals and self-help books that teach us about the power of being thankful. Without gratitude, we become cynical, hard and cranky.

As a parent my greatest desire for my child is for her to be happy. My wife and I can often be heard sprouting the old cliché; “We don’t really mind what she becomes, we just want her to be happy!” But for her to nurture true happiness and joy, we must teach her to practise gratitude and we must model a life of gratitude ourselves. By cutting our moaning, choosing to see the good and the beautiful in others and the world around us; by celebrating regularly, we model a lifestyle of gratitude and we plant the seeds of this in our little one.

And yes, she writes hand-written thank you cards for her presents and she calls people to say thank you for a party. However, for as long as she is under my roof she will never –  I repeat, never – thank someone using Facebook or Twitter!

Justin Foxton is founder of The Peace Agency. 

All his writing – regardless of topic – is dedicated to the memory

of Anene Booysens and Emmanuel Josias Sithole. 

justin@peaceagency.org.za  |  www.peaceagency.org.za


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