My mother-in-law often referred to her grandchildren as ‘going concerns.’
When my sons were small they were active, curious, social little beings. They were interested in everything. As my mother-in-law would watch one of them busy exploring their surroundings and interacting with people she would often say, “He’s a real going concern isn’t he.” I was never quite sure what she meant by that. Until I married into my husband Dave’s family I had never heard the phrase ‘going concern.’
Over the Christmas holidays I watched my one year old grandson have a fine time exploring every corner of our condo, doing puzzles, singing, interacting with family members, laughing, opening presents, learning new words at a rapid rate, and playing little games like peek a boo. I almost said, “He’s a real going concern isn’t he.”
My mother-in-law thought her lively crew of grandkids were ‘going concerns’ -happy, healthy kids with lots of potential.
It made me decide that finally after all these years I was going to find out if ‘going concern’ was a recognized phrase and see if I could figure out what it meant. I learned it is actually a term used in the business world to refer to a company that is doing well. It is healthy financially, can honor its commitments, and has good future prospects.
But I also discovered the phrase in a 1949 BBC broadcast script in which a psychologist refers to children who are happy and bright and developing well as a ‘going concern.’ He tries to reassure parents they shouldn’t get overly anxious about doing everything ‘exactly right’. Most children are a ‘going concern’ and will develop in a healthy way if they are loved and their basic needs are met by caring parents.
Oma’s ‘going concerns’ pose for a photo with her and Opa on their 50th wedding anniversary
The 1949 date of the BBC broadcast made me realize that ‘a going concern’ was a term people of my mother-in-law’s generation would have used and also helped me understand she was actually paying my husband and me a compliment when she said our children were ‘going concerns.’ She thought our sons were happy, healthy, bright and developing well and we were doing our best to parent them.
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Filed under Family, Health