If Technology Fails Math Skills Shouldn’t
At every turn we hear about some new gadget or app to make our lives better. We practically don’t have to do anything these days that doesn’t include having “and app for that.” This includes the ability to count money!
When I grew up and started managing my own money I learned to balance a checkbook. Now there are virtual checkbooks that anyone with a bank account can get. The problem with that is that us older folks can function if our virtual checkbooks aren’t available. The invention of technology, however, makes that a non-reality for many in the younger generation. When a woman recently told me about the bank closing her account due to too many overdrafts she was highly distraught. She didn’t know what to do and had no idea how to get another account since her credit was ruined. She said she started putting her money in a box and using a spreadsheet but then her computer crashed and she was a big mess not knowing how to deal with her finances.
It dawned on me that what they now call consumer sciences that’s taught in college was home economics back in my high school days. Along with cooking basic foods, learning to sew a button or two, they also taught us about budgeting. It led me to ask several parents of young people what they’ve taught their kids about budgeting and they honestly answered either “nothing” or “there’s an app on their smartphone that will do that for them.” Perplexed, I asked, “so what if they don’t have a smartphone , don’t pay their bill or their smartphone crashes.” One mom laughed hysterically and said, “well they’ll be up sh*t’s creek without a paddle I guess.”
I’m not sure what bothered me more. The fact that this mom thought it was funny or the fact that none of the parents followed up a response to my original question with any type of thoughts on teaching their kids how to budget and maybe use a checkbook. I mean seriously, how many of us have gone to a restaurant or store and become annoyed because a cashier couldn’t figure out how to count the change if you gave them coins to go with a twenty dollar bill or a dollar over so you could get an even amount back? Who do we have to blame for this? Ummmm…. You guessed it….us! In our haste to do everything and get our kids the latest and greatest stuff to make life easier we often forget about the little things. Basic budgeting is a necessity for our kids and they need to know how to manage a basic balance sheet. A checkbook of sorts is really what I’m talking about. This is not an online thing, an app or even a spreadsheet but old fashioned doing the math type of calculations. To have people so dependent on technology handicaps them. As much as many may not believe this, there may actually come a time (since things are cyclical) that someone who actually knows how to add and subtract by hand will come in handy!
Don’t shortchange your kids or even yourselves. Teach kids to figure out the balance sheet as soon as they are old enough to do so and avoid situations like the one mentioned above or where they simply spend, spend, spend until the debit card doesn’t work anymore (yes that’s an accounting method some use).