Monday, September 27, 2010

Influencing Young Minds

Today, I chaperoned and volunteered at a field trip for Girlie Bear's school.  The local Junior Achievement group has a facility that is used to teach kids about financial responsibility and budgeting, among other things.

Today, a group of 7th graders got a day of learning how to budget.  I was assigned to run the storefront for the local Stop 'n' Rob, where 6 students were assigned as workers.  I passed out little cards that had their "identities" on them. This was such things as their age, marital status, number of kids, income, and tax information.  The kids had to take that information, figure out their take home pay, and then figure out the lower and upper limits of what they could afford based on percentages of their net pay for such things as housing, a car, groceries, etc.  They then gathered information from all of the other store fronts about what these things could cost, and then they had to complete a budget based on their income and levels of expected spending on the categories of expenses.

My job was to keep these 6 on task and assist them.  Part of it was checking their math, but mostly it was explaining things such as taxes, health insurance, and what some of the services they had to budget for were.

Examples:

Student:  Sir, what's a sewer?
Me:  You know when you flush the toilet?
Student:  Nod
Me:  The sewer is where it goes after you flush

Male Student:  Should I buy the 4 bedroom with a monthly payment of $750, or the 2 bedroom for $500?
Me:  Do you have any kids?
Male Student:  No, but I'm married.
Me:  Buy the bigger one.  It's easier in the long run. 

Student:  What are all these taxes?
Me, in my head:  Well, federal taxes are for the government to pay for things that you don't want to pay for, Social Security is used to make sure the old, lame, and lazy don't starve to death, and Medicare is to keep your grandmother alive when she gets sick.
Me, out loud:  Those funds are taken from your paycheck to pay for services, help out the old and sick, and to provide health care to senior citizens.

Anyhoo, it seems to be a great program.  There were a lot of the 'aha' moments as the students realized just how much it sucks trying to raise a family on the income you get at a convenience store.  They were all able to make their budgets work, but figured out really quick that making $18K a year isn't much when you have to pay your own bills.

As a sidenote, a lot of my anxiety about Girlie Bear and boys was laid to rest this afternoon:

DaddyBear:  Sweetie, are all of the boys in your class so.......
Girlie Bear:  Stupid?  Yes dad, they're all morons.

Some things do a father's heart good.

1 comment:

Christina LMT said...

Silver has never really expressed interest in boys (or girls), and one thing she said about 'em stands out in my mind. She said high school boys act like monkeys. :D

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