Lesson From An Arcade by Sarah Kline
One of the Blogilates workouts I’ve been doing throughout this year is a spin-off of the video game Street Fighter. Cassey, my fearless digital coach, comes onscreen dressed like Chun-Li and proceeds to lead her viewers in an intense but fun routine with lots of kicking and punching. It’s one of my favorite videos of hers because I used to play Street Fighter as a kid in the back of Pinocchio’s Pizza. As a kid, video games were always a Sunday lunch treat.
My love for the arcade took a backseat after that Pinocchio’s Pizza closed. Mamarita’s did away with their backroom arcade as well. Prices on video games everywhere went up as the games got more violent and realistic. I typically didn’t want to fork over a dollar for one play. As I got older, money took on new meaning. That dollar was a gallon of gas one summer when I was in college. It was a movie ticket to Showplace 6 when I had friends to go with. It was a candy bar and soda from the machine when I was in high school.
My economics teacher, Kay Moore, taught me a lot about inflation my senior year in high school. We pretend played the stock market. We wrote a report and delivered a presentation about a famous inventor. We learned in detail the effects of the stock market crash of 1929. A great teacher is someone not easily forgotten. I only hope some of my former students look back on their sixth grade year in my class with good memories.
As a newlywed couple, Carl and I were clueless about finances. We would spend those early days broke and wondering why. It was a hard first few years for us. I watch my own kids do some of the things I did as a kid – blow money on single plays of a video game, spend their last dollar on a pack of gum, or invest $5 on three measly Pokémon cards. Carl and I talk to them a lot about money. When we have a financial victory, we explain to them why. We don’t want our kids to grow up not knowing the value of a buck. Before they make their little investments, we usually quiz them on whether or not it’s going to be worth it. Then, we let them choose.
One of the biggest answered prayers for Carl and I has been Financial Peace. Yes, we make mistakes. Often. We struggle with determining if our own investments are “worth it.” We spend money on things that don’t last. But, we tell our money where to go. We at least ask ourselves if whatever is going to be worth it before purchasing it. See, we want to set an example for our kids. We want them to understand consequences of choices made. It’s important. Yes, they’ll make mistakes. Often. Yes, they’ll struggle with determining if their own investments are “worth it.” And yes, they’ll spend their money on things that don’t last. Sometimes they just need to play that video game, even if it costs more than it should. But, we pray and hope they’ll at least evaluate if it’s worth it first, then tell their money where to go.