On Friday nights right now, I am hosting a small group of teenagers for fellowship time on Zoom. It's a wonderful part of my week, and I'm learning and growing as I listen to them. Each week, we do a crazy song to dance to, have some sort of theme for what to wear or bring, and I ask a question of the week. My questions of the week are usually deep and serious, because I think it's important to engage in what's going on in our country and world. We've talked about the coronavirus, politics, and protests.
I also ask each week what amazing things happened in their lives during the previous week. It gives them the chance to share with each other, which is so appreciated right now! We also talk about how online school is going. This week my daughter shared that she is completing a final English project and doing so on a theme of what she wishes were taught in High School. Her number 1 thing: a class on financial management. Only four states require it right now.
I asked the other teens how many wished they could have a class on this, and they all raised their hands. I've already been struck by how thankful they are to have an adult like me who listens to them and engages with them. I let them ask me a question every week too, and one guy tries to stump me with math. This week he gave me a factoring problem, and I did a little research to remind myself of how to do it, then got moving. I think it's important to take them seriously, and I will follow through.
So if they all want a class in financial management, why can't it happen? Why can't we adults listen when our teens ask for something important, especially something as important as this?
I never got to talk much about money in my family growing up. My parents never wanted us to know how much money they had, though they did share their values on how they would spend it. They valued experiences over things, and that continues to be a value for me today. However, I wasn't allowed to have a job, wasn't given much money, and didn't get much instruction until I headed off to college. If I hadn't had a good head on my shoulders, so much catastrophic could have happened.
We can make it a different experience for our teens, and change the culture of not speaking about money. I've decided to offer classes on how to become a financially savvy teen. Nine lessons (ten if we need an extra) for only $50 seems like a great deal. I've learned a whole lot about being my own best advocate, and I've scrimped and saved and gotten through on not much income for many years. I am happy to share my non-expert, well-researched wisdom, and give teens a starting place for engaging with their parents about what is important and how to value money and its role in our lives.
You can share this with teens in your life and sign your own teen up on my website, www.shalomconsulting.net. The inaugural group begins on Thursday, June 25, 2020.