The kids are not suited to factory work. My idea was to give them some thing to think about; process, where their food comes from, some grasp on how food is processed, and how other children’s lives were and still are in other places. Of course I didn’t as such say that to them… I bribed them with the machine with a handle and lollies.
A friend from Afganistan started working when he was 10. He said he felt it gave him a strong work ethic and he learnt about the value of money and work. There are kids now who work in factories… Those children cannot be like these two. We had Problems! We had the monitoring of the turn taking, the slight competitiveness of one person up the chain doing a faster job, then there were the complaints over turning the turning handle – it was “Hard” and the job went from “my turn, my turn” to “I’m not doing that” (Helena is reminding me that they eventually sorted that) and the added complication of anytime someone turned the handle the wrong way it would stuff up the sysyem and I’d be spending longer sorting it out than we were doing the actual tomatoes. It was in all more work for me. Later Helena was adamant about helping me, I suspect to put off bed time, but she was mostly helpful and now the tomatoes are all done.
It was their attitude that was the barrier to them being cogs in a wheel. There was too much questioning, to little blind-obedience, too much back chat, the kids had too much power… it may not have made them think particularly about children who do have jobs in factories but it made me even more aware of what those children have to suppress. But then Helena and her friend didn’t have the same degree of responsibility toward their families…. they get to be children.
Helena has been thinking a bit about the idea of that powerlessness and playing that she is a servant, she asked me if servants and their master’s could be friends? I remember what an elderly friend said about his old nanny versus what he said about the mother he never saw…. How to explain class? The “yeah but na”. I feel like her servant sometimes – last night she asked me if I’d change the water in her bottle because she was feeling warm and snug in her bed, and I despite the lack of please just did because it was at that point easier than an arguement but this isn’t the same as I ultimately got to choose…
I can see there will be philosophical conversations to come and I know there will be lots of Blackboy Peaches to bottle soon.