Northwest Rankin Middle School students were schooled in the art of real life recently by participating in a Reality Fair. I was fortunate to play the role of "Realtor" in two sessions at the school.
Students selected their desired occupation, and based on that choice, they were paid a salary and instructed to find housing, connect utilities, pay their insurance, cell phone, etc. Their choices had to fit within their budget. In some cases, students had to negotiate ways to either increase their income or reduce expenses.
The number one stop on their shopping list was to find a place to live. So one by one they visited the housing booth. Based on their income, wants and needs, they chose between a one bedroom apartment, sharing a two bedroom with a roommate, thereby cutting their expense, or even a three bedroom single family home.
It was fun to watch as they learned they couldn't always afford what they wanted, but most quickly adapted by asking a classmate to be their "roommate".
As I assisted these newly independent "students of life", I observed their career choices. There were professional athletes, a few computer programmers, doctors, an actress, and at least one enrolled in the military.
One young man hadn't chosen a career path, so he decided to live at home with his parents. Even choosing that option, he was obligated to pay a certain amount toward household expenses. He wasn't happy having to pay to stay. "But my parents said I could stay for free. I DISCUSSED it with them".
I explained for purposes of the "Reality Fair", he had to pay the monthly stipend to his parents. Whatever he worked out with them outside of class was up to them.
The experience was enjoyable and I will participate again. I hope the bright young minds got a glimpse into the future and will take the lesson to heart when making their career and housing choices.