Last Thursday I gave a talk to teachers from all over the country at the 2nd Educators’ Conference on Financial Literacy sponsored by Prudence Foundation via their cha-ching.com program. The event was meant to teach teachers how to teach their Grades 2 and 3 students about money.
The good thing about presenting to teachers was that they were attentive. They were diligently taking down notes. They definitely know how it is to be on the giving side of the equation and they were probably doing what they hope their students would do all the time.
How can you teach what you don’t know?
When I asked the teachers to raise their hands if they think they have a high FQ, only very few did. And that’s why I decided to give them an exercise on childhood money memory. This is designed to really understand our relationship with money, the very foundation of a high FQ. I gave them a few minutes to recall their respective childhood money memory complete with background music to help them with the activity. After a while, I saw some wiping their tears.
In the interest of time I only called one volunteer to share her experience doing the exercise.
She narrated to us her growing up years with her father who was a fisherman, “Even if my father studied college, he worked as a fisherman. He always shared his catch with the rest of people. I also helped in selling fish. Yes, nagtinda ako ng isda at nilakihan ko ang patong para mas malaki ang kita! My parents also told me that if I want to go to college, I should earn my own money. And I did and so now I am a school teacher!” She was well applauded.
I was already on to the next part of my presentation when another teacher approached the stage and said, “I have to express what I’m feeling right now. Please allow me to share my childhood money memory.” And so I gave her the microphone.
She narrated, “While I was answering the guide questions you gave, tumutulo ang luha ko. I’m from Iloilo. My father was a policeman and my mother was a teacher and I could not understand why I felt that we were poor. Kung gusto kong manood ng TV kailangan pa akong makinood, doon lang ako sa labas ng bintana ng kapitbahay namin. Wala rin kaming ref. Sabi ng nanay ko, ‘Hayaan mo anak, makakabili rin tayo ng mga gamit, at pag nakabili na tayo, bago yong sa atin, at luma na ‘yong sa kanila!” This elicited laughter among the audience. The teacher went on, “I learned how to strive hard. And now we could buy those things already. Tapos, yong mayayaman noon, mas luma na nga ‘yong gamit nila kaysa sa amin.” Another round of laughter followed this remark.
These two examples plus the others in the audience who were wiping their tears just show how money is such an emotional topic. And it’s good to bring all these emotions out in order to understand why we relate to money the way we do.
The Second Basic Law of Money
“Get only into a business that you understand, and seek advice only from competent people.” is the second basic law of money. This is essentially “finding your intersection” as I call it – your greatest passion’s point of intersection with the world’s greatest need.
I had to explain this more lengthily to the teachers because I already anticipated that they would wonder, “But Rose, how come I can’t seem to earn much doing my calling to teach?”
Most of the time, we associate the teaching profession with low income. I have a friend who shared with me a story about her son who once asked her, “Mom, would you mind if I become a teacher?” When the mother answered, “Of course not.” the son said, “Really?” Then my friend went on to continue her story, “Right after that, and with my other children wanting to be a stage actress and a writer, I called up my husband to say, ‘Hon, we have to work ‘til we’re 80 years old!’” We both laughed at her story.
But I stand on my position that allowing our children to follow their passion is still the best formula to live a successful life. And this is my most compelling reason for parents to raise their children with high FQ. Because no matter what field, what career they get into, if they already possess this intelligence, you know that you have already armed them with Economic Self-Defense!
The Rich Teacher
I shared with the teachers the story of Kim Ki-hoon.
Kim Ki-hoon is Korea’s “rock star” teacher. He’s called the “rockstar” not because he wears yellow pants and sometimes plays the guitar when he teaches but because he earns more than US$4 million a year! That’s almost the average salary of an NBA player. He teaches English in South Korea primarily via paid internet video. His country has dramatically increased its literacy rate and students (I would say mostly the parents) have become so obsessed with after-school tutoring that the industry is now worth US$17 billion!
Mr. Kim is very passionate about teaching, which enabled him to come up with effective courses that are so popular among Koreans. I’m sure his parents never imagined him to rake in this much when they allowed him to become a teacher.
Using your strengths in whatever profession
I’m reading a heap of books on the Strengths Finder philosophy right now and couldn’t help but attribute the reason why a lot of people are not living their best lives to the wrong approach to our strengths and weaknesses. We are so focused on our weaknesses at the expense of neglecting the enhancement of our innate talents. The thing is no matter how much time and effort we devote to improving those areas, we will never attain excellence. But if we focus on further improving our God-given talents, we stand to attain mastery. I’m sure Mr. Kim focused on what he liked so much about his teaching profession and applied it. He said, “The more I work, the more I earned, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
So my call to the teachers was, try to find how you can tweak or complement your existing job and you may find your own pot of gold. Instead of selling items that do not have anything to do with what you’re good at or passionate about just to augment income, here are some things that you may consider. These will not only improve your earning capacity but will also enhance self-development, which ultimately leads to a better life:
1. Free lance writing. Write articles that you’re passionate about that you can contribute to publications. You can even start writing books. With ebooks and wattpad, the possibilities are endless.
2. Hold seminars, give talks on subject matters that interest you. If you’re a great Math teacher who knows how to take out the intimidation on the subject, maybe you can arrange to give talks for a fee to both students and parents.
3. Market research. Is there any subject matter that you’re very interested in that you’d like to know more about? Just do a research on it. The more you know about it, the more possibilities you can find on its use. You not only enjoy the learning but you can find additional income if you’re able to sell your work to someone in need of it.
4. Just like Mr. Kim, find your remarkable style in carrying this out so that you too can become a rock star teacher!
5. Of course, just like anyone else, make sure to follow the three laws of money – aside from the second law which is our topic, you have to do the first (Pay yourself first, make it an automatic saving) and the third law (Make an army of gold before you buy luxury.) Invest. Invest. Invest.
There was a great feeling of fulfillment I had after my talk to the teachers. They were warm and very thankful. It was great to see Maiki Oreta again and we did an engaging Oprah style couch discussion after my presentation.
Most of all, I knew that my morning session with the teachers would have a multiplier effect as the teachers would go on to teach the lessons learned to their respective students.
1. I will speak at the SM Retail, Inc.’s Early Retirement Program part 2 on November 26, 2015 at 10am. This will be at the Building A Auditorium of SM Corporate Offices, Pasay City.
2. I will speak at the 6th PANA (Philippine Association of National Advertisers) Foundation IMC Youth Congress on November 27, 2015 at the Philippine Trade Training Center, Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. cor. Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.
3. I will speak at the Manila Children’s Festival on December 13, 2015 at the SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.
Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom, and Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Photos from classroomclipart.com, cliparthut.com
This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com.