2003

Writing Contest: Second Place

Essay Title: Fortifying Economics Futures through Children's Stories

Casey Zella, West Geauga High School, Teacher: Mrs. Houser

Storytelling is a universal tradition that has been around since the beginning of humankind. Many stories have been retold and carried through countless generations. These stories, myths, and fables have been used to teach moral lessons in an entertaining manner. The lessons often have an underlying meaning, separate from the stated moral, which pertains to economics. One particular man, Aesop, created numerous short stories, but is predominately known for his series of fables. His fables were designed to instill morals into the readers, or, as was often the case, the listeners.

A particular fable from Aesop, "The Ant and the Grasshopper," teaches an important lesson about life and also teaches a personal economic principle. In the fable, a grasshopper watches an ant working feverishly during the summer and does not understand why it would toil so much when there is plenty of food. That winter, the grasshopper is dying of hunger and sees the ant eating comfortably from the stores of food he gathered that summer. The moral of the fable is that it is best to prepare for the times of necessity. This is also an important lesson in economics. Saving money is essential to ensuring financial security. In economics, it is wise to prepare for times of financial hardship, although they are often difficult to foresee. Like the ant in the fable, one must put money aside as a precautionary measure.

This economics moral is especially important for today's society. Many people are reliant on the stock market. After the terrorist attacks, the stock market suffered. Reciprocally, the economy suffered as well. Although the events that occurred could not have been predicted, people should have money set aside for emergencies. The recession that has taken place has affected almost everyone in one form or another. Following the economics moral told in "The Ant and the Grasshopper" would have lessened the effect that the recession had on people. Another example of this principle having an effect on people is seen in the automotive industry. When people acquire used cars, there is often no guarantee of the reliability of the cars. Sometimes people will spend almost all of their money on their car. Then, perhaps a few days, weeks, months, or even years down the road, the car breaks down or needs an expensive repair. The expense is often too much for the owner, and he is then faced with an economic hardship. For those who followed the moral of the fable told by Aesop, this would not be a problem.

Lastly, the economic principle told in the fable can also help create a strong foundation for future financial success. Saving is very wise and can help create a strong feeling of financial security, a feeling that many people in today’s society lack. The lessons taught to children are very important and provide principles that they should follow throughout life. Myths, fables, and fairy tales are rulebooks for living a successful life, disguised by fanciful characters and story lines.