I was a teacher for many years, and the key thing about teaching, I found out, is creating engagement and motivation. Once the kids are motivated, the material teaches itself. You just present the material in some fashion, and they lap it up.
With the 13-year-old, I noticed awhile back that, when she was playing a video game on TV, an old RPG from the 90's, that she really lit up when she got to a section of the game that involved buying and selling and racking up the points score of virtual money. She really got a strong draft of enthusiasm there from that, and it got me thinking.
The eight-year-old has a much different personality, but similarly, I have seen engagement in screen games. We have one Mac game that's a kind of Sim Farm thing, involving parlaying your initial stake into a fortune by growing crops, then buying animals, milking them and shearing them, then buying more animals and so on. She will sit there and play that game for hours.
Similarly, I got to thinking about teaching them about money and trading after watching the eight-year-old play Monopoly. The thing that really got me about watching her (and she is very good at it) is how the trading psychology comes out in her once she gets her Monopoly money in hand. It's like flipping a switch. She's almost like a drunken caricature of a trader, beaming and boasting when she is winning, and fleeing the room in tears when she's losing.
Incidentally, these children are Japanese, so the language and culture involved is all Japanese. In Japan we still use bank passbooks, and since the children do not have bank accounts, that's one of the first things on the agenda. I may get them forex accounts at the bank, too, at the same time.
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I am not so sure that teaching trading at such a young age is best...after all let us say they take a real interest...they cannot legally trade for many many years.
However...being responsible with respect to money is another matter. I think that comes first... trading can be done at any time but if they do not show respect for money then you have not established a foundation to build on.
Playing the video games is fine and fun. When I was home from a trip or late in the evening I would play video games with my son for an hour or two. They were basically challenging puzzles...I stayed away from killing games.
We had one basic rule: we would alternate play of the game and the other person could not offer hints on how to solve the puzzle but could watch and learn from the mistakes of the other.
It worked very well. Some of the puzzles were really hard and I would think about them as I went on a sales trip, coming back with new ideas to solve the puzzle only to be greeted by an excited 8-11 year old who said they solved the puzzle or found a better way to solve the last puzzle... damn!! I wanted to solve that puzzle
Interacting with your children this way makes life when they are teens flow much better.
Fiscal responsibility first...trading a distant second IMHO
We made great sacrifices to send the kids to Montessori school. I am not sure that I drink the Montessori Koolaid in one gulp, but there are certain things about it that are very valuable. One thing is the emphasis on learning to do real things.
For instance cooking. Our kids were taught to cook starting at age three. As a parent, it's kind of shocking the first time you see your three year old with a sharp knife in her hand prepping kitchen vegetables. But of course she can do it, and without cutting off a finger. As a result I now have an eight-year-old that can plan, purchase and cook dinner for us unassisted.
I don't want to put too much emphasis on the word "trading" in this thread. In any event the screen trading that we adults do can come later, if at all. For the time being, and there are a lot of teachable moments concerning money that can be seen just from the environment.
For one thing, the kids are going to Amsterdam for Spring Break. This will be a very good opportunity to get a taste of forex and spreads. Other teachable moments would be the question of whether travel insurance is a good idea, why airfares fluctuate seasonally, and whether there is any arbitrage to be gained between the price of tulip bulbs in Holland and Japan.
I have decided to turn the trip by the kids to Holland this spring into a money learning project.
So I am working on a little learning experience for them called "Tulipmania."
Reading up on the subject right now. It turns out that there are a whole bunch of interesting topics to be introduced under Tulipmania, in addition to the obvious ones of financial bubble and irrational exuberance.
One thing I did not realize about Tulipmania is that the problem was primarily a matter of futures trading. Another thing introduced during that period was options trading. Furthermore, short selling played a part. This is very juicy.
As a barter currency, the tulip itself has an interesting character, due its very limited propagation characteristics. It takes, for instance, 7 years for a mother bulb to mature, and it does not divide into very many daughter bulbs. It's a semi-hard currency.
One thing that might be fun would be to create a board game called "Tulipmania". Maybe use the format of the "Life" game.
I was only mentioning that the PRICE of the tulips after the hype in the past today is nearly zero...
And the "future in form of the tulip" does no longer exist.
But today it is a very big business to market them in the auctions every day - as you showed
in the next post. You can follow them live on the internet. You see rows of carts with tulips
coming in. Traders up in the rows are bidding within seconds for one ore several carts.
And the next carts are coming in - the outgoing are directly steered to the cargo airport beneath.
If you can - visit such an auction house to see it live!