At the age of ten, I loved the Sears catalogue. It held so much promise. With two tv channels, few magazines and zero Internet, that Sears catalogue was part of my adulthood road map. Standing at a kiosk to pencil in an order at the Consumers Distributing outlet was exciting. The white wainscotted corner shelf unit with the matching breakfast nook on page 276 was my future decorating dream. The red plaid cushions were the crowning glory. My childhood self would imagine hosting brunches with my multitudes of friends who were elegantly dressed in pretty chintz, gingham and floral dresses from pages 98 to 105.
I'd wager less than 20% of our kids would be able to navigate a catalogue order. Or a phone call for that matter. They don't need to. Shopping online has never been easier. Unlimited web pages of potential purchases and plenty of influence on a grand scale. Our kids dream big.
Teens talk about Audis, Lambos and luxury cars rhyming off their series like it's code for cool (I know *cool* isn't cool). Prom dresses cost more than my wedding dress did. Even food is a big deal #foodporn. Expectations amongst youth are high.
Entrepreneurial thinking and financial literacy should be a core component of the curriculum. As parents and educators, we need to see where they are headed. Not where we were. Or are. Prolonged space travel, mining asteroids, growing produce on Mars, health care technology that includes self-monitoring, headbands that control stress levels, virtual reality and universities that do not issue degrees as their curriculum changes every six months to stay current. These are just a few of the present changes in the works.
Are kids prepared for the bar they've set for themselves? As traditional business infrastructure is weakening and small businesses are gaining traction in becoming important players in the rebuilding of our economy and workforce, the need for entrepreneurial mindset and financial literacy is growing rapidly. Our parents never spoke about money in polite company. We must. It would be ignorant not to.
Ideation, iteration, value proposition, business canvases, COS, ROI, P&L are taught to kids through innovative summer camps, digital websites for youth and even through accelerators like VentureLab or MaRS for entrepreneurial youth. The Canadian Federation for Economic Education (CFEE) strives to promote financial literacy in our schools with the Talk With Our Kids About Money program. We need to inject more money talk into their education.
"But not all of them will become business owners," said a teacher at a conference I recently attended. No. They won't. But they won't all become mathematicians using calculus and algebraic equations either. Arguably, entrepreneurial and business literacy has far greater practical applications than calculus does.
Speak to your school trustees and school administrators. Ask your local MP what funding is being made available to upate curriculum and training to meet the future needs of your children. Be an advocate for your child's financial literacy.