Education in life’s basics
August 26, 2004
It’s their senior year in high school. A couple of weeks and they are out on their own. They get that summer job and finally get the two-bedroom apartment with two of their best friends. They are done with living at home and it’s bye-bye to mom and dad. Finally!
Four months later they are crying to mom and dad, begging to move back home. The landlord has threatened them for being late on rent and one of their roommates left town. “I just need $200 and the landlord will let us out of the lease.”
The kid is back at home and now only has that credit card bill to pay off. Since they got laid off, mom will have to help with that also. No hurry to get another job since mom and dad will cover things for a while. For those kids that can’t go back home, they have terrible credit history by the time they are 19.
This will repeat itself several times by the time the “kid” has figured out that it isn’t easy out there on your own. Why? I think it’s because our schools don’t teach a lot of the “Real Life Basics.”
When they leave high school, do they have any idea what a budget is? Do they know what fixed expenses are? What does it really cost to own a car? How much of their monthly payment on their first Visa actually goes to paying off the principle? When their hours get cut in the fall because business is slow, how is that going to affect their monthly cash flow? What is a credit history? Why would anyone ever need a savings account if they are not even 30 years old? Why is it a problem if I have eight jobs in two years on my résumé?
A lot of kids in our community don’t ever get to college. Although a basic education is great, we need to formally teach our kids how to get by on a daily basis. We can’t just rely on our parents because a lot of them haven’t learned these essentials.
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We live in a tough town to make a living. It is pretty much a $9-an-hour town. Nine dollars an hour isn’t much when you can’t always be sure you will get 40 hours a week. I challenge our schools to do even better at preparing our kids for the real challenges in life that show up very quickly after graduation. A course in these basics should be a requirement to get that diploma.
– Patrick Ronan is a 13-year South Tahoe resident and owns the Lakeshore Lodge and Spa.
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