When I heard the doorbell, I walked to the front door and looked outside through the peep-hole. I could see no trace of a visitor, but the doorbell rang again all the same. Intrigued, I opened the door and faced a kid, who saluted me cheerfully.
The boy must have been ten or eleven years old. No wonder that I had not seen him through the peep-hole, since he was barely tall enough to reach the doorbell. As I said good morning to him, I realized that he was wearing a blue cap with white letters. Children for Mathematics, it read.
¨Throw me a challenge,¨ said the kid defiantly. I had read in the newspapers about Children for Mathematics, but I had no idea that they were active in my area.
All I knew is that a retired physics professor had started Children for Mathematics six months ago in order to prepare today´s youth for living in the global economy. I decided to test the kid to see if what I had read in the newspapers was true.
¨If your currency loses 8% of its value per year and you invest half of your savings in foreign bonds at 4% interest and the other half in gold, what is your rate of return after one year?¨ I asked the boy.
The kid answered without blinking an eye. ¨The rate of return is 6% minus transaction costs.¨ Then he shook his head, as though lamenting that I had not been able to formulate a more complex question. ¨That was an easy one,¨ he commented.
I asked a second question, throwing some foreing shares into the equation, but the kid was also able to give me an instant reply. So what I had read in the newspapers about Children for Mathematics was true. They were awakening children´s curiousity for figures all around the place.
The little experiment had more than proved the point and I was happy to give the kid a generous donation for Children for Mathematics.
I felt uplifted that someone had taken the initiative to start such an organization. I think that we could use more of this, especially if this story was based on facts instead of being fiction.