Notes From 10-Year-Olds

I’ve got a number of pressing matters right now, but they’ll have to wait a few more minutes. As I blogged a few weeks back, I was a teacher for a week. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Don’t tell the Junior Achievement folks, but I followed the curriculum only peripherally. There are a million places where these kids can learn the mechanics of business. At their young ages, fundamental principles are key. Accordingly, I spent a week on various aspects of three principle topics:

  1. Business as the three primary resources (natural, human, capital) applied to trade and why trade happens (both parties are better off — period)
  2. Time leverage (employees; human resources; beautiful minds)
  3. Financial leverage (capital)

It was great to see eyes as light bulbs upon simple realizations like: Sam buys Ali’s bag of apples for $5 because Sam wants the apples more than she wants $5 and Ali wants the $5 more than he wants the bag of apples, and — and — that Vinesh thinks it’s a ripoff is his opinion, but not his business. Or: I work 200 hours per day (can you guess how?). And: though your dear grandparents might applaud you for paying cash for a house, making 10% per year on your investment, you can buy five or 10 houses for the same money and make 100% per year on your investment.

I should point out that these are exceptional children. I was both shocked and very pleased with some of the brilliance I observed. Of course, we’re talking about mostly Chinese and Indians. The school is near a sub-division where the average house is well over 3,000 square feet and will sell for between $1.5 and $2 million. No, not estates. Just plain old nice tract houses. The parents are mostly immigrants, mostly working in Silicon Valley as hardware and software engineers and such. They think education is important, and it shows in their kids. Not many white faces at all. You know, there are video games that need playing, and more often than not, dad is playing the video games rather than educating his kids.

One wonders what another generation will bring. If this is how whites become the second-class citizen, bring it on. I love justice, regardless of the skin color or shape of the eye.

So I’m holding a folder of thank you letters addressed to Mr. Nikoley. Some excerpts:

"I learned many things that have to do with money. I also learned what time leverage can do." – Sabrina

"…some things were confusing and it took the long way into my head." – Christina

"My future plans are working for my dad. He might even let me be manager." – Timothy

"My future plans for my job would be to be an employee instead […] because it seems a lot easier." – Madison (she encloses a drawing of a snow cone relabeled as shaved ice; can you guess why?)

"You taught me a lot about money and business. […] I never knew you could buy a $1 million house for only $100,000. I thought you had to pay a full million. […] I also learned how to make a business plan." – Vinesh (he encloses a drawing of a house with a $1 million price tag and one stick figure saying to the other: "I’ve got $200,000. I’ll buy it.")

"I learned how to plan a business." – Steven

"Now I know how to start a job, buy a house, and run a business." – Conor

"I could get rich. I loved learning time leverage." – Christopher

"Ever since you taught me about business life, my life will never be the same. […] Thank you for opening my eyes to the business world. Now, thanks to you, I want to make my own computer company like Apple. I want to be an entrepreneur to make millions of dollars by making a start-up company of my own. After making millions of dollars from my company, I want to use my money to invest in real property to make more money. I shall buy low and sell high with residential and commercial real property." – Francis

"I learned that businesses are much more complex than I thought. Also, I never really thought about where to get the money." – Sylvie

"I now know more about business and finance than my grandma." – Brian

"I learned a lot about business. […] I also learned that being the boss is good because you can go and relax and you will still be working. My future plans are to make up a business, hire people to work for me and make a lot of money." – Agam

"It was very interesting to learn how a business grows." – Dylan

"My future plans are very fun. I’m going to become a business major and take over my dad’s business. He owns clubs and restaurants and a poker website. […] It will run for generations." – Alison

"Thank you for teaching us about bank loans and how to get people to buy your product. I learned very much about business and ads, etc. Now I know more about what my dad does at work all day long." – Samantha

"…It really helped me understand the pros and cons of every business. You also helped me analyze resources, all three types — matter, human, and capital. It also helps to understand about the resources and how they interact with each other. My business is to be a landowner. I will build a building and lease to anybody (shops below, apartments on top). Then, I’ll gain the money and try to expand it. Pretty soon I’ll try to make a city out of dust." – Mathew (my human calculator in the class)

"I also learned about the two kinds of leverage, time & financial." – Kabir

10-year-olds, folx.

Interestingly, for as many oaths as there were to one day start a business, there were even more expressing a desire to be an employee instead. And that’s perfectly fine. Those who expressed such desire typically did so because they say they don’t want the complexity or responsibility.

I’ll be wishing that they remember that while the current culture is hell-bent on making sure they feel they are just unfortunate victims of life, never having any meaningful choices.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. Bud Bergeron on June 5, 2006 at 13:49

    Amazingly, some of these kids now have a better grasp of economics than many of the college graduates I interview for jobs…

  2. Kyle Bennett on June 5, 2006 at 15:49

    "I could get rich…"

    That's the most profound statement of them all.

    And "…some things were confusing and it took the long way into my head." is a great analogy. I think she coined a catch-phrase.

    Great job.

  3. Greg Swann on June 5, 2006 at 14:52

    Bravo! Beautiful! Give Francis my card.

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