Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Lesson In Economics!

I love teaching life lessons to kids. It's always interesting to me to find some way to relate "adult" ideas and realities to younger minds. The correlation doesn't always exist and sometimes I have to be creative.

Today an opportunity presented itself and I chose to take advantage of it. With all the current economic concerns, today's kids are going to have to learn how to squeeze a buck the way I had to when I was growing up and paid for everything myself.

Now that I'm back teaching at OU, my eleven year old has to stay after school with his mother while she catches up on lesson plans and tutors kids (for free). He's not always happy with this arrangement, but this is what we have to do. I guess I could launch into the whole adult responsibility thing. But for now I'm going to stick with economics.

This is a very simple lesson, so pay attention.

Chandler is always looking for ways to make money, and to make the best of a situation, which generally means making money. He negotiated a deal with his mother to earn 50¢ a day for helping her when he stays after school. Bright kid, I have to admit. I wouldn't have thought of doing something like that.

So today, on my first day at school, he earned his first 50¢. On the way to dinner tonight, he was happily telling me about it. So I asked him what he did with the 50¢. He said he bought a coke. I pointed out the cokes cost a dollar. He said his mom loaned him 50¢.

Then I told him this is how America has gotten into so much economic trouble. People earn 50¢, then go out and spend a dollar. Pretty soon, you're broker than broke.

He went on to tell me he did not force his mother to loan him the 50¢. I told him that I only wanted to discuss managing personal finances at the moment and didn't really have time to get into the whole banking and bailout issues.

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