Go to school, work hard, get a good education so that you can get a good job. That's what most of my generation heard as we were growing up. For most of us that was sound advice but is it still valid?
Schools are being closed, college costs are skyrocketing, and good jobs are few and far between. I think it's time for us to reevaluate what we're telling our students. I don't think we're preparing them to thrive in the real world.
I think there should be more emphasis placed on teaching students about personal finances. Students should be encouraged to learn about investing and managing their money. They should understand how to manage debt.
We need to encourage students to become producers not consumers. We need to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit within them. Consumers do not create wealth, they make everyone else wealthy. Getting a good job makes you a better consumer.
Economic empowerment may not solve all of the issues that we're facing these days but it sure can make a major dent.
For those of us who are parents, have we taken the time to teach our children about money or have we only told them about bills? Have we taught and encouraged them to save? Are we encouraging them to come up with the next "new" idea?
Are we teaching them to "give back"? Do they understand the importance of social responsibility?
I offer these thoughts not to question how anyone raises their child but to suggest an alternate path. We are in definite need of a paradigm shift because what we're living with right now isn't working for a lot of people. We cannot rely on our educational system to prepare our children to make it in the big world.
It starts now, let's get this thing done....
Ernest R. Heyward is the Founder and President of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility Inc.