by PAULA DAVIES
THE parable of the talents is likely to take on a new lease of life if schoolchildren follow the advice of Shelter, the National Campaign for the Homeless, on what to do in the holidays. The idea is also a prescription for becoming a mini-tycoon, but either way the kids will get a lot of fun out of it.
All you need do as a parent is to provide a small sum of money and let them get on with it. If they are clever and industrious they might be able to turn it into a sizeable sum by the time they have finished their wheeler dealing.
A nine-year-old girl bor• rowed 2s from her parents, bought some paper and made raffle tickets. She then sold the tickets for prizes she had been given and made 25s.
Ploughing her profits back into the business like any successful entrepreneur she then bought cakes and coffee and held a coffee party, where she raised a surprising amount of money. After paying back the 2s she had borrowed—we all have to pay hack the bank some time—and deducting the amount spent on materials she ended up with a £28 profit.
When you have worn yourself out entertaining the kids, giving them money for outings and trying to make sure they enjoy the long summer holiday, there is a lot to be said for sitting back and letting them enjoy themselves doing something worthwhile for their contemporaries. Even if their exertions do not result in such an outstanding achievement, at least they can have fun trying it.
By now they may well be bored with the seaside, the country or 700 visits, so it is not a bad idea to remind them. in this relatively painless way, that some children have never had a proper home, lot alone a holiday.
If your children don't have the tycoon mentality they might prefer to collect pennies and threepenny pieces for Shelter. Not in any ordinary fashion, however, for they could collect their own weight in pennies or their father's which would be even more effective, remembering that £1 worth of threepenny pieces weighs l lb 3oz and £1 worth of pennies weigh Sibs 3oz.
During the World Cup Rally, a Junior School in Oldham collected a penny for each of the 16.000 miles— £66 13s 4d. They followed their journey on a map reaching Mexico City not long after the leaders of the Rally.
Your children could collect the coins per mile round your town or village or, if they are really adventurous, around the coast of Britain, 5,500 miles and follow the trip on a map while they are doing it. Dozens of other amusing ways of collecting these coins--which will be withdrawn from circulation next year, are listed on a leaflet obtainable from Shelter.
If you have a crowd of obstreperous boys in your family, or just browned-off. bored boys—they often come to the same thing you could set them to making a pedal car for Shelter's Soap-Box Derby to he held in October. And they don't need to be mechanical geniuses to make it either, for a blueprint of seven instructional drawings is available from Eileen Ware, Shelter's Youth Director, who will also send all the information and advice about how to run a Derby.
A youth club in Orpington. Kent, which arranged one last year, made £325, enough to re-house a homeless family.
There are masses of other ways in which the children can occupy themselves. They can collect jumble, starting with your throw-outs and hold a sale in the neighbourhood or save it for Shelter's Jumble Sale of the Year on October 24. They can weed auntie's garden or, at a pinch, mow your lawn and raise some money that way. They probably don't mind baby-sitting to swell their packet money. Get them to do more and send the surplus to shelter. Lots of boys enjoy cleaning cars. You might get them to clean yours or unleash their efforts on the neighbours' cars. Very few adults like cleaning cars so quite a lot of money could be raised this way. And when you are driving off to the country or the seaside for the day or going much further on a special summer holiday you can stop at a garage giving Green Shield stamps and suggest the younger children collect them in a book. Sticking in the stamps keeps the small ones occupied and as each book is worth 12s to Shelter, it is well worth sending off to them. The summer holidays can be too long for both parents and children but doing just a few of these things will make it more tolerable and you will have the pleasure of knowing that as a result of your efforts, some of the children who will spend this summer in a slum will live in a decent home next year. The address of Shelter is 86. Strand, London, WC2R OEQ.