I have been blessed this week as I took some time with Launa and our daughter Jaimee, who is my illustrator, to do book readings at local elementary schools. We wanted to share the special message of my new book, but after each reading we found that we were the ones being educated.
I began an effort a few years ago to teach and write books for young people under my pen name Ule B. Wise, that would help prepare them for the financial challenges of life. Rather than writing about money specifically, I wanted to teach values and character traits that naturally lead to success in other areas of life. As an example, a child will be much better at budgeting money if they first learn patience.
The basis of this book’s story is a boy who climbs a tree in search of a gold egg that he was told lies in the nest at the top. His friends are not supportive, the climb is difficult, and he has some failures along the way, but he persists until finally reaching his goal. What he finds at the top is greater than he ever hoped for.
I always ask the kids what they learned from the story. What I did not anticipate, but what has become quite obvious after several book readings, is how absolutely brilliant these kids are. Rather than needing coaxing to find the right answers, these young children gave responses that, in many cases, exceeded those from my adult classes. This week a 10-year-old girl responded, “The boy learned that the real reward was not the gold egg he was seeking but the lessons he learned while making the difficult climb.” Wow! An 8-year-old answered, “The message is to experience the journey of life and see the beauty along the way.” Double Wow! And a first grader said, “You can’t really enjoy a reward unless you work for it.” I went into this project thinking we had so much to teach our children. However, I am learning that we have much we can learn from them.
Financial problems are the root cause of many personal, family and national disasters. Irresponsible spending threatens the very future of our nation. If we can raise a generation that is wise with money, we can eliminate a great deal of sorrow. After just the last two months reading to these elementary students, I am convinced that this is a winnable battle. These kids are brilliant. They have within them what it takes to succeed. They are ready and willing to learn.
My Dad, who inspired me to write children’s books, told me to never teach down to a child, to always teach up. When you teach financial or other principles to children, expect greatness from them. Stretch their abilities, challenge their minds, then step back and watch in amazement at what this generation will accomplish. Thank you Sunset, Coral Cliffs, Little Valley and Crimson View Elementary for inspiring me, and giving me hope for our future – for your future.
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
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