“Free Lunch in Huntsville – The Good and Bad”
Saving more than dollars, but also respect and confidence in our children….
Author By Jacob Birmingham (Creator of KiDebit and Author of “The Cashless Society”)
Is this really what we want to instill in the young minds of our next generation of school children? Because this is exactly what we decided to do in 2014 in Huntsville, AL and across the country.
After I read in my local Huntsville Times paper about Joey Vaughn, the director of school districts plan to give FREE FOOD to kids who can’t afford lunch at school I had two thoughts:
AWESOME! & YIKES!
Joey Vaugn helped launch the Huntsville “Child Nutrition Program” in support of the “Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act” this year . The program provides a free breakfast and lunch meal for students attending 23 different schools in the county. A school can qualify for this program when 40% of student body is eligible for free or reduced-price meals based on their supporting family’s reported income.
Now don’t get me wrong, this sounds like an awesome program because we are feeding kids who wouldn’t otherwise have anything to eat at school! I fully support the goals and the final intentions of this program, however, I still had this knot it my stomach that was forcing me to scream, YIKES!!!
Why the concern? We are literally teaching kids at school that life comes with a “FREE LUNCH”. My recent readings from Rachel Cruze and the Dave Ramsey talk about how important it is to teach kids about the value of money, work, earnings and spending their own money. Children build a sense of respect and confidence in themselves and their financial abilities at a very early age and yet, here we are completely contradicting these teachings at school for kids at the most critical stage of their lives to appreciate the core financial values in life, by handing them a FREE LUNCH.
The importance of Cash flow between parents and kids: It’s okay to launder money through a child to buy a toy, instead of buying a toy directly for that child.
After my family started using KiDebit about a year ago, I remember one afternoon I caught my wife buying something for my older daughter and didn’t deduct the purchase from her KiDebit virtual account. I asked what the occasion or special interest was in buying her that gift, and my wife said, nothing. She just felt bad telling our daughter to buy a completely random and spontaneous purchase with her KiDebit money. It dawned on me at that moment, how we were buying that gift regardless if it was or wasn’t coming out of her KiDebit spending jar. My 7 year old doesn’t have a job yet, and her earnings is relative to what I decide I want to reward her for doing things around the house, or getting good grades, etc… My wife and I talked about our intent with KiDebit and decided that the reason we pay our kids earnings in the first place, isn’t because my kid “needs” income to pay the bills and they won’t be filing taxes at the end of the year. We pay them, so they can learn about saving, buying and giving. So it’s important to LET the money cash flow through the child’s KiDebit account, so they have the chance to “buy” that gift, with “their” money. WINK! WINK!
KiDebit is a perfect educational tool that can be inside my home, and inside a school that wants to buy children a free lunch, but instead of buying the lunch for them, launder the money through a child’s school KiDebit account, so they feel as though they “earned” that lunch. Even though, the teachers, parents, and Mr. Vaugn know WE are still paying for it.
An idea is nothing without a plan: Here’s the Plan.
STEP 2: Provide School KiDebit “Dollars” for the children every day they come to school, and find excuses to give them more money for lunch!
STEP 3: Build an incentive program like doing their homework, getting good grades, coming to school on time or coming to school at all.
Step 4: Take this past a free lunch and build a school KiDebit donation store for “free” pencils, pens, snacks, extra school goodies, that the child can save for, earn KiDebit School bucks for doing good in school and allow them to “buy” these items on their own.
Cancel the FREE LUNCH and offer a FREE financial education, FREE boost in children confidence, FREE boost in a child’s self worth and a child’s self respect. Teach them that there is NO FREE lunch. WINK. WINK.
(1) The Huntsville Times, Wednesday June 18th 2014, “STUDENTS WILL BE EATING FOR FREE”, written by Crystal Bonvillian