3 Things I Wish School Taught Me

SCHOOL

School taught us some of the most important things in life. Reading, writing, math, how to socialize, and how to think.  

School also ignores or chooses not to teach us some of the most important things in life. How to manage money, respond to emergencies, and speak in public.  

A CHANCE AND NEIGHBORLY ENCOUNTER

Recently, I ran into a neighbor during one of my morning runs. I stopped and we had a conversation about her kids. She is transitioning them from traditional schooling to homeschooling.

She revealed the coronavirus was only a catalyst for the change. She has been thinking and feeling for some time her children’s education would be enriched if classroom lessons were integrated and augmented with real-life situations.

This got me to reflect on my education; what I was taught; what I was not taught; and what I really needed to know to be effective at life.

I dwelled on the topics not normally taught in school that would benefit our lives if we learned them when we were young. 

As adults, reading, writing and basic math are handy everyday. But, there are other practical subjects perhaps just as important. Auto maintenance, how to operate a computer, how to efficiently search for information online, social media, and managing money, including credit and debt, immediately come to mind.

It seems the current education system expects parents to teach their kids subjects not included in the curriculum or for kids to acquire this knowledge on their own.

This is problematic for numerous reasons. One significant reason, parents may not be qualified to speak to a topic. That appears particularly true when it comes to money management. Studies indicate nearly 6 out of 10 adults are financially illiterate.  

That said, here are three subjects I wish I were taught in school prior to entering college.

1. Personal Finance

First and foremost, personal finance or money management.

How you manage your money affects every area of life. Relationships. Health. Emotions. Security. It impacts how well one does or does not live.

Financial illiteracy has become a global pandemic.

Major events compound the impact of financial literacy or illiteracy. Think 2008 financial banking meltdown; consider the current student loan debt crisis and coronavirus crisis.

One of the big lessons we all should take away from these events is that we may not be as prepared as we thought we were or should be to manage through crisis. 

I believe schools should dedicate the entire month of April, Financial Literacy Month, to having lessons on personal finance and money management. The curriculum could include practical topics like taxes, banking, including how to bank online safely, credit, debt, interest, saving and investing. 

Finances are an essential part of life. That is abundantly clear. Individuals can choose to ignore or scrutinize them. But either way, they need to receive education on them in order to be considered prepared for adulthood. If my school would have taught me some of these vital lessons earlier, I would have been more confident, competent and capable in managing money in some of the tough financial situations I have already experienced. I believe wholeheartedly this is true for many others as well. 

2. CPR Training

I believe physical education is one of the most undervalued subjects taught in school. It imparts many valuable and practical life lessons that would improve anyone’s quality of life who applies them. It teaches us to exercise; eat healthy; collaborate with others; to be inclusive; and how being fit leads to more emotional stability and a healthier sex life. 

Although the school programs I have experienced might have included a lesson on how mental health can be just as important as physical health, they have done a superb job continually updating and improving the curriculum. That said, I wonder how beneficial it would be to society if schools taught students how to accurately spot when a person is in physical distress and how they can potentially be capable of saving a life? 

CPR training is required for most, if not all, emergency first-responders. What if this training was incorporated as a part of the health education curriculum? If it was, teens would be able to play an integral part in saving lives and their community’s response to emergencies. Their assistance could save the life of a fellow student, a stranger, or even a family member. Although, this is typically not a skill we use on a daily basis, its value is immense. It is lifesaving. It it instill a sense of civic pride and responsibility. And, it is far better to have this skill and not use it, than to need it and not know how to do it.  Here is a good article to read on the topic: Should Children Learn CPR?

3. Public Speaking

Research reflects many people are terrified to speak in public, like in front of a class of students or colleagues at work.

Public speaking and presentation skills build confidence, composure and esteem. These are attractive and desired skills. And, they are key qualities many students lack.

Numerous jobs look for candidates with strong communication skills who can handle themselves in tough situations and perform under pressure. They give preference to candidates who can articulate their thoughts both orally and in writing. 

In college, we are called on frequently to give presentations. It is never a one and done deal. So, getting comfortable and confident as early as possible is a key to getting on the fast track to success.

The only way to build those skills and that competency are by having lots of opportunities to practice them prior to entering college and the workforce.

I wish the schools I attended had mandatory requirements for public speaking and presentations starting as early as elementary school. I believe it would have produced multiple benefits. Some I have already stated. Others include a better ability to speak my mind, share accomplishments, and more clearly state what’s bothering me. 

I grew up very shy. I blamed lots of things on my being an introvert. But as I grew older, I realized I had the power to turn my shyness on and off. All it took was a series of confidence boosters. Learning to speak in public was one of those confidence boosters and a cure for shyness.

Conclusion

Schooling and education can come in a variety of forms and places. It can come from books or videos. I can take place in person, online, at school, at home or while performing a daily activity. Regardless of how or where it happens, one goal and objective will always remain constant. We want to equip, prepare and position kids with the essential knowledge, experiences and tools they are going to need to succeed as adults. 

If schools implemented the changes I am suggesting, high school graduates would be years ahead of current and past generations of children. They would possess the practical personal finance skills to achieve financial stability; have the power to save lives; and possess the confidence to stand up for what they believe in!

I believe this is what my neighbor wants for her kids. Someday, it may be a reality for all kids. 

About Cameron Rufus 

See Cameron’s bio below.

Visit his LinkedIn profile.

Checkout his website: WealthFoundMe.com (Easy Money).

Read his prior blog for Sammy Rabbit titled: 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to College.

View his thinking as part of Panel 2 and Panel 3 of Sammy Rabbit’s Teen, College and Young Adult Financial Literacy Discussion Panel.

Sammy Rabbit loves championing and raising awareness on the importance of early age, youth and family financial literacy education.

One of his favorite methods to raise awareness is to share the stories of people and enterprises who want to make a difference in the lives of others, like Cameron Rufus!

IF you would like to be featured in a Guest Blog or one of Sammy’s other blog or social media series listed below, contact us.

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First or Favorite Childhood Money Memory

Teen, College and Young Adult Financial Literacy Discussion Panel

Childhood Money Memories Series

Sammy Rabbit Spotlight

Your Take. My Take 

Sammy Rabbit Quote of the Week

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Author Picture

About the Author

Cameron is going into his senior year at Bowling Green State University where he is majoring in Finance, Insurance and Risk Management. He was the President, and previously Treasurer, of the university’s Financial Management Society and a member of its Financial Investing Club. Cameron’s mission is to positively impact the lives of all the people he meets, whether that’s through a service or friendship. He is a big advocate for teaching the youth financial literacy and education.