Monday, February 6, 2012

Lessons for The Kids

Try explaining taxes to 28 second graders...that's exactly what I did last week when I volunteered for the Junior Achievement program. Every day last week, I visited Nate's classroom and talked about jobs, government, taxes, elections, and money.

On the first day, I helped the kids understand why adults have jobs (for the paychecks to pay for our needs and wants). Most kids grasped the concept and agreed jobs were important. Of course, there was that one kid...the one who basically called me out...he explained that his mom and dad don't work and they have what they need.

On the second day, we talked about production line and the kids made donuts. They raced to see which production line could make them the fastest. They loved that game. No complaints in the room.

On the third day, I gave them each $5 for making donuts. Then I took $2 away for taxes to pay for firemen, police officers, school teachers, librarians, and city maintenance workers. At the end of the day, they begged for a new game - they wanted their money back. (Gee, don't we as adults say that?? LOL)

On the fourth day, they elected a mayor. They chose the mayor that wanted to put in a skate park rather than the animal shelter or a toy store. The kids who voted for the other mayors were disappointed and the winners rejoiced. Hmmm, I've felt that once or twice.

On the fifth day, we passed a dollar around the room to show how money travels. Nate bought an ice cream cone from Alyssa (the ice cream lady) and she bought flowers for her mom from Tatiana (the flower lady) and that dollar went around and around the room.

All week long, the kids talked about how our "taxis" pay for services. Many of them decided they'd like to be a "taxi collector" because it appeared as though I made the most money doing this job.

In other news, Ms. Emily turned 12. We had a small birthday party at the house for her and helped celebrate her last year as a "tween." It's interesting to have a girl in the house, I"m used to being surrounded by boys. It brings back a lot of memories. 12 is a hard year. You're not a little kid but you're not a teenager. You're too young to date, wear lots of makeup, etc but you're old enough that you wonder/want those things. You have crushes. You worry about being cool and popular. Wow, I don't miss those days at all.

Maybe it's just me but I think it must be really difficult to be a twelve year old girl in today's world.

When I was twelve, girls who wore makeup were NOT the norm. Most parents seemed against it. Today, all the girls Emily's age are wearing makeup. And quite a bit of it.

When I was twelve, girls who wore short short skirts and even smaller shirts were not the norm. Today, there's so much pressure for everything to be sexy. Even the halloween can't be a police officer unless you're the trampy police officer with the little skirt and tight shirt with handcuffs.

When I was twelve, we had crushes on the boys at school. We might pass notes back and forth. We might have held hands for a second on the playground. We rarely made the first move. Now, girls are the aggressors.

I remember some pressure to be pretty, look good, be thin and dress well. Today though the girls have pressure to be thin, wear revealing clothes, and be sexy.

I hope Emily doesn't grow up too fast. I hope she remains one of the nice girls and doesn't get caught up in the drama that's already prevalent at her school.

I hope she grows up knowing that she is a beautiful person - both inside and out. I hope she can see what a pretty girl she is but also how smart and gifted she is. I hope she knows that her self worth need not be tied into what clothes she wears and how thin she is.

Happy birthday Em!! You're a beautiful, talented, smart, and sweet young lady. Glad you're part of my life!

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