The other day my son came home and announced he’d received a ‘present’ … from a stranger at the local park.
“A pig gave me a fridge magnet!” he squealed (as only a five-year-old can).
His younger brother picked up on the excitement and lunged for the prize. And then it was on for young and … slightly younger. All over a freaking fridge magnet. (Then again, that’s all part of the bro code.)
As I separated the two hay-balers, I saw that this was no ordinary fridge magnet.
The pig was actually … a local bank employee dressed up in a costume.
No, not that one.
This swine came from Bendigo Bank, and he was apparently the star attraction at the local community event … getting selfies with the kids. Now I’m sure there were some parents who were taking photos with the pig and having a lovely family time. But, as my kids would soon understand, I’m not like other parents ‒ I get a little intense when it comes to school banking.
For me it was like my son coming home with a packet of Marlboros:
“The cool cowboy gave it to me, Daddy … and a lighter!”
And wouldn’t you know it, the Bendigo Bank boar turned up at my son’s school with bank-branded bags, colouring books and pencils. At this point I’m breathing into a paper bag: if I see that corporate clown around town, I’ll put a skewer up his clacker and an apple in his mouth!
Okay, so I’m joking … but the fridge magnet went in the bin, thus reuniting the boys against a new enemy ‒ their old man: “So unfair, Dad!
Here’s the deal: for the last 15 years, I’ve just been carrying on like a pork chop about this issue.
And, thankfully, other people are finally starting to get their snouts out of shape about it.
Earlier this year the Australian Education Union (AEU) wrote a letter to the federal Education Minister, Dan Tehan, demanding that banks be banned from classrooms. As AEU president Correna Haythorpe put it: “There’s no place for private corporations to go into schools and try and trap children into banking with them for the long-term future.”
You know what?
We need a financial revolution in this country, and it needs to start with our kids.
Tread Your Own Path!