My passion, I am very involved in civic organizations like Kiwanis International. Kiwanis’s purpose is to “serving the children of the world,” providing resources, fundraising, and expertise to one child, one community at a time.
Even further, I always “rolled up my sleeves” and got engrossed in numerous Kiwanis projects. For example, one of the neat ideas was several “Reality Fairs,” with five different high school locations to help out. What is a “Reality Fair”?
A Glimpse of Reality
In particular, as one energetic high school teacher explained, “A Reality Fair is an interactive financial tool for middle school students. The eighth-grade students visit the five high schools to get a glimpse of reality. Students come with a monthly salary amount and visit tables set up for real life expenses.
Volunteers work tables that simulate real-life activities: such as buying or renting a home/apartment, purchasing insurance, paying for daycare and groceries.”
So, several Kiwanians and I attended the event with a little bit of training and we were blown away! There was at least 700 to 800 graders milling around, moving from side to side to look at all of the little “houses” that we were sitting in. The teenagers were asked both intelligent and snarky comments and, to be honest, enjoyed a good old time overall.
But, stunned, the students also were nonchalant about decision-making choices on their capable hands.
Like a Teenager
Now, the kids were just beginning figuring out complex problems regarding budgets, allowances and such. Granted. But at the same time, there was something else that was troubling but I couldn’t figure it out.
And, then, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was the exact same way a long time ago when I was in eighth grade, too.
Crossroads of Choices
The questions bubbling up and trying to calculation out all of this new information. The adrenaline at high speeds about grown-up issues like:
- Where am I going to live comfortably?
- Do I have enough money for both utilities and entertainment at the same time?
- Are other people going to impact my bottom dollar that only now, but in the future?
- Will I advance my talents in the future or bottomed out with no alternatives left?
It seems that no matter what the age or circumstances regarding what one does in our abilities, we are at the crossroads of choices. The declaration defines a cascade of the decisions long after the fleeting moments.
Reality can the magnificent if we harvest pragmatic and solid compromises habitually. Thus, for the eighth graders, what I attempted to portray my feelings known, too, with vigor at that event.
Hard medicine with invaluable observation.