Updated: Apr 29
How can youth attract what they neither understand nor respect? It’s impossible! Consequently, talking money is not taboo; youth seek and value this knowledge. Therefore, the first part of this discussion examines why a healthy dose of financial education is essential. The second proposes three effective strategies for classroom instruction.
Why Financial Literacy is Important
· Money is not evil.
Let’s begin by debunking the myth that money is evil. According to the Bible, the love of money is forbidden (For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil – I Timothy 6:10). So, having money is okay; don't allow money to have you. Furthermore, most of the Biblical leaders were very rich.
Why do we equate wealth and business with being wicked? Once upon a time, my thinking was skewed until discovering that saving the world required finances. Even kingdom work has a price tag. When the pastor stands in the pulpit and articulates the vision that God gives him or her (like building a center for youth or seniors) accomplishing it takes cash.
Still, as a young college student, I viewed business students in a less than favorable manner. How silly – more like stupid! Many prosperous individuals and companies support worthy causes.
· Money is a tool.
Simply put, money is a tool that youth can use to benefit themselves and others. How can you help someone if you’re broke, busted, and disgusted? You can’t! However, if youth develop a better understanding of this tool, they’ll wield it wisely like a skilled carpenter who hits the nail on the head.
Money is a reward.
Likewise, money is a reward. Workers receive a reward at the end of every week or two for helping their employer solve problems. Those who solve more complex problems get a bigger reward. By the way, I don't see people pledging to work for free.
3 Instructional Methods
If you’re nervous about teaching financial literacy, don’t fret. This section recommends three ways to help you save time, money, and most important give youth a strong foundation.
Take advantage of available resources.
The experts have already assembled materials for you. For example, you'll find lessons for all students including college and special needs on the practical money skills website. Download free modules, games, DVDs, and brochures. VISA also provides an entire curriculum for grades 9-12 (teacher's guides and student activities in PDF format).
· Recruit speakers.
Invite people who work in finance to speak to your students or youth group. Start with the banks. Many have financial literacy programs for teens and adults. Get creative! Recruit speakers from investment firms. Ask business owners to address your class. People are more than willing to share what they know.
· Play games.
I highly recommend Cash-flow by The Rich Dad Company. This board game is both fun and educational. Consider asking students to read the book first (Rich Dad Poor Dad for Teens). It introduces key concepts. You also benefit from reading Rich Dad Poor Dad. Another option is to browse Amazon.