Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 204 - Mr. Beatty and Bananas

"Principles lead to prosperity." Michelle Singletary uses this phrase to describe her family's principles for financial discipline that she describes in her Washington Post personal finance column. She teaches this principle to her own kids.  Growing up we NEVER talked about money or finances.  It might have been because we didn't have any so there was never a "need to know."  Things like a subscription to the daily newspaper was a sign of a prosperous family.  We didn't even have bananas or ice cream.  When Grandpa came over on rare occasions this was a big treat...compliments to kindness of the maternal ancestry and resulting from the inadequacies of the paternal side of the ancestry.

This is why I jumped at an opportunity in fifth grade in Mr. Beatty's Social Studies class.  He had devised a plan to instruct his fifth grade classes to run and use a banking system with Beatty Money.  Of course George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin's photos were all replaced by the image of Mr. Beatty himself.  We were given money based on our grades.  $20 for an A, $15 for a B, $10 for a C and $5 for a D.  Every Friday the grades were handed out and with our Beatty money which we deposited into our accounts.  Students who were commerce minded, marketed their services and vied for our business.  Most of us saved it because at the end of the nine week grading period, Mr. Beatty was auctioning off items and we wanted to make sure we could outbid our fellow bidders.  Each student was asked to run a store which sold real items.  Some students sold crafts, some tutoring services, and others food.  I applied for the Head Banker position and was in charge of the accounting and managerial duties of running the bank.  I double checked all the ledgers at thirteen years old.  We learned how to balance a check book and essentially keep track of our money.  It was the only discussion of money I have had without initiating it on my own since then over thirty years later. We had to write checks to others and the banks job was to make sure the student's balance matched what we had on record.  If it didn't, they had to explain to Mr. Beatty why it didn't match if they didn't discover it for themselves when they rechecked their math.  This was a great avenue to learn about money at school and made a big impression on all of us.

The right thing to do is to talk to our kids about money.  Teach them how to write a check, balance their check book and invest in stocks.  If they don't learn it from their parents, they'll do like any other person will do, just look at the transaction paper slip from the bank when they get a withdrawal and TRUST the bank to keep their balances!  Like the fox guarding the hen house.  Recently my adult son asked me how to write a check and I showed him.  I had shown him when he was in high school but I guess he figured he'd remember but he didn't.  It takes practice and an open dialogue to talk about money.  The right thing to do is to talk about wills with our parents and financial investments and banking protocol with our children.  If we don't, we'll all be walking around like a bunch of monkeys looking for bananas.

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.  ~Cree Indian Proverb

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