“Michelle, what do you think you’d be doing now if you have attended Kids at Switch when you were a kid?” asked Jamie.
Instead of giving her the answer immediately, I gave some thoughts to it… and I think I would have been more fearless in pursuing my interests.
Let me explain
I only started interning at KaS (Kids at Switch) two weeks ago but something that attracted me to it in the first place was how it put student’s interests and engagement at the heart of their programming. In the few lessons I’ve seen, the KaS teachers are always deftly connecting things that the kids love to their teaching on financial literacy. This helps make learning relevant and meaningful to the kids, which encourages what they learn to transition into the long term memory.
As a kid, I had always thought that my interests were less important than “real” work. The priorities that school and society espoused, lead me to think my interests were distractions from time spent doing the “real work” of homework and assignments that the teachers had set. If I was doing something that could not add to my grades, then I was wasting time. I was lead to believe that my interests would never amount to a good career and financial security. Implicitly, I was told that money is the ultimate goal. However, Alan Watts summaries the problem with that mindset aptly, by saying
“If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time! You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living – that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing!”
The way Kids at Switch priorities the interests of kids is refreshingly divergent from many of the classrooms that I have seen. In a lot of schools, kids are still being told that their interests and passions are irrelevant to their learning. But at KaS, the interests and dreams of kids are validated and supported. Kids are taught how to creatively channel their interests in entrepreneurial ways. Importantly they are also taught a healthy approach through which to view money. Kids are taught to be both realistic about how to use money and to see it as a tool as opposed to a goal.
I’ve had to learn the long way that my interests are not inferior to “real work”. At Kids at Switch, I’m happy to be part of a team that teaches kids from an early age that their interests are valuable and worth pursuing.
If you have the time, check out Alan Watt’s excellent speech entitled “What if money was no object”