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Teaching (Money) Is Learning Twice Over

July 16, 2018

 

At my alma mater, one of the requirements for obtaining a master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) was to take a course in phonetics and phonology. Sounds thrilling, right? Who doesn't love glottal stops and elisions?

 

I remember this requirement well because I convinced the dean of my department that due to my focus in curriculum development, there was no earthly reason I would need to take the phonetics and phonology course. I sure fooled him.

 

It was during my first post-graduate job that I became another university's phonetics and phonology instructor. As I was preparing for my "fake it 'til you make it" classroom adventuring, I recruited the assistance of my wife, who—wiser than I—never thought of talking her way out of a course she knew to be useful to any competent foreign language teacher. She got me through the chaos as I stayed one or two steps ahead of my 200-student lectures. They never suspected a thing. (Okay, I'm sure that there were a few students in the bunch who thought, "This guy needs to be serving fries with this lesson.")

 

To this day, I'm actually quite decent in my understanding of the subject matter. I can talk fricatives, plosives, and nasals with the best of them. Only the most discerning would figure out that I'm still a near-complete charlatan, but thankfully my experience in teaching the subject matter deepened my understanding. Moreover, it made it clear why phonetics and phonology are such great areas to master in learning foreign languages.

 

At a younger age, I similarly convinced myself that I really didn't need to know money that well. I just needed to make the stuff and leave the expertise to some lucky soul who would manage my large fortune. He or she would come in panting that I needed to slow down so that we could unclog all the monifying pipeworks. "Please have mercy on your loyal servant and burn these enormous piles of Benjamins! I can't take this another day!"

 

Fortunately, I've been unlearning that mentality and am now quite happy to master the subject matter I once lazily dismissed as out of reach or unnecessary. 

 

In a recent article in AL.com, Stewart Welch of The Welch Group had these words to share: "[T]eaching your child to manage money will make you a better money manager." Wise words. I'm finding that in the course of teaching my children actively about money, I'm increasing my own confidence in my ability to work with my wife to manage my family's finances. I might be only a few steps ahead of the kiddos, but I'm also increasingly excited about my prospects for making the most of my professional opportunities and paying back my law school debt.

 

I'm sure many out there have a crazy fear that money is beyond their ability to comprehend. My recommendation is to start by teaching your children the basics so that you and they can reap the benefits of financial education together.

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