"Lemonade, freshly squeezed lemonade. Only 20p money going to save the dolphins, come and get it, ice cold lemonade!"
I think that I will hold for very many years the vision of my six-year-old, pushing his trolley down the street laden with plastic cups and a huge jug of freshly squeezed lemonade. No shyness there. So proud of him - totally his idea and he managed to sell every drop, raising £3.64 for his favourite charity Adopt a Dolphin.
But it was not only money that he raised - he bought smiles to many faces, made me abandon any sense of self-consciousness, and quenched the thirst of dozens. Now where did the idea come from? He has always loved making shops and goes to great extremes in creating different ones and in selling anything from ice-cream, to clothes, to food. This is the first time he has taken an idea, followed it through and actually got something tangible in return. And he loved it. He is totally proud of himself and what he's doing to save the world.
It is the idea of enterprise that interests me and where that comes from - is it inherent or is it learned? Obviously we live in a capitalist society and he sees that at work every day, but so does every other 6-year-old. How many actually take things forward? Is this something he has learned from me or is it in his genes? Or his culture or my culture?
A friend kindly spoke to her friend, a child psychologist about my son - "Oh, he's going to be angry" was her standard off pat reply - why? "Because he has been taken out of his culture". Oh that un-thought through argument! How much does a new-born know of his culture? Reminds me of the adoptive couple who went to take Russian lessons, "Why do you want to learn Russian?", the teacher asked, to which they replied, "Well, when our baby begins to talk we want to be able to understand what she is saying".
Culture by its very nature is human made, and thus it is a layer that is laid on us as we grow and develop. It is values and beliefs that we confront and embrace. And yet there is something of culture that is carried through the genes and the generations. If there was an animal that I could connect with my son it would be the bear - yes the Russian bear - for his character is that of the bear and of his native Russia. I guess culture is like advertising - only half works but no one knows which half. We don't know. I guess my son will pick and choose that which he wants to embrace, that which he feels most comfortable with, and discard the rest.
But as for being angry? Perhaps that is in the psychologist's simplistic text-book. Life is a little more complicated and I pray that by adulthood my son has all the tools he needs to deal with his feelings of abandonment, being 'removed' from his culture, his sense of loss and any other psychological issue.
Or perhaps he will be too busy being, like his compatriots, an oligarch.