I have become aware of a very important issue that many parents seem to be having, especially when it comes to our lovely teens!! I’m sure our parents felt the same about us at this age, however in a much different way. When I was in school I had Home Economics classes. They taught some of the major things you would need in life, cooking, banking, taxes, and sewing (which I still don’t know how to do). It seems the importance of life knowledge is no longer taught in school, which is understandable since it has been replaced with BS Core Math and Social science classes (I mean seriously, who cooks anymore??? or pays taxes???) Idiots.
As parents, I think we take for granted the fact that our kids at this age have an understanding of money. Let me tell you a secret, they have NO IDEA. Yes, they were taught in 3rd grade how to make change from a dollar, other than that, it seems they think money LITERALLY grows on trees (or at least my kids do).
I had a interesting conversation with my youngest son yesterday morning (age 12) that really got me thinking. He was truly upset that the government doesn’t give a bigger “allowance” to poor families so that they can buy Hollister Clothes and designer jeans, so that the kids don’t get teased or made fun of at school. (This kid is a old soul with a huge heart) I was kind of dumbfounded at that question at first. Until it dawned on me that he has no idea where that money comes from. So I began to ask him questions, questions I was not prepared to hear the answers to.
Me: Where do you think the money comes from that the government gives them for allowance?
Him: The Government Bank
Me: Where does the Government Bank get the money to give them for allowance?
Him: They print it.
Yep, the government just prints up monopoly money and distributes it out to the less fortunate. That is what he believed and unfortunately a lot of others I have spoken to, say their children said the exact same. The older kids simply said they did not know, nor did they care. That’s when I decided I had to come up with some way to teach this very important lesson to my kids, since Civics and other important classes are no longer available in school. I had to think of a way to make them THINK about it in a way that related to them. What I came up with, surprised even myself.
I created a Worksheet (Printable) that teaches basic money lessons, in a three phase story problem. What I found after finishing it was it taught a lot more than just how money pertains to them. It teaches them the importance of school, hard work, a glimpse into what we (as parents) go through in trying to raise them, and in the end, a overall glimpse into understanding how the world works.
After finishing the worksheet and revisiting the questions I had asked earlier, he had a much different outlook. This time he was asking the questions…
Him: Why do I have to work and pay for other people to stay home and play video games?
Me: So that YOU can afford to wear Hollister and designer Jeans.
Him: No Mom. Why do I have to work and they don’t?
Me: They either can’t work or don’t want to, for the one’s that can’t work, I don’t mind paying to help them. The people who don’t want to work, are the people I have a hard time paying for.
Him: So why can’t we just pay to help the one’s that need it and make the other people, who can work, get a job?
Me: I will save that for Life Lessons 102.
I’m sure he was less thrilled with my last answer since his questions are now turning into more homework BUT it is giving us a chance to talk about real life issues that need to be taught and understood. It is helping him to better understand topics that he is hearing in the news and it is forcing him to think about his point of view vs. what the news is sugar coating for him.
I’m intrigued by his curiosity that has arose from one quick innocent inquiry. I look forward to creating 102 in the coming days and if there is any points or questions, that would be of help, please comment below to see them included in upcoming Life Lessons.
If you think this could help others, please feel free to share. I know I’m not the ONLY parent concerned about this topic and if your kids are anything like mine, their attention span doesn’t allow for lengthy conversations. Hopefully this will spark a conversation in your home as well!
I’m always open to constructive criticism if you feel that something isn’t age appropriate or needs to be altered.