As parents, foster parents, youth workers, youth advocates, and mentors we encourage our youth to make wise choices and all areas of life. Robert Kiyosaki explains the difference between an asset and a liability in his book “Rich Dad Poor Dad for Teens.” I want to buy this book for every teen and adult camping out overnight or arising before dawn to purchase Nike tennis shoes. The cost of the shoe is higher than many people’s health or car insurance premiums. Some of the people in line I’m sure don’t even have health insurance. Here in my area there was a fight and the police refused to allow the shoes to be sold on the intended date. Grown people are standing in line with small children, people are fighting, and people have been robbed and even worse in some cities. People are risking their lives and livelihoods for shoes that lose all value once you put your feet in them. This “trend” is ridiculous. Nike could very well charge less for the shoes and produce more of the product but they will not. They will not because they want to create a frenzy. They are a huge corporation that is only concerned with profits. Think about the message being sent to our youth.
An individual who understands marketing and advertising, supply and demand, assets and liabilities, and the true meaning of investing in oneself would never participate in such foolishness. Education and awareness are essential to building not only smarter consumers but enlightened and responsible adults. There are definitely many more productive ways to spend time and money. What if we ask our youth “what would be a better way to spend your time and money than on shoes”? Ebony magazine published an article online titled “Why Black Youth Must Travel” (http://www.ebony.com/life/why-black-youth-must-travel) but this applies to all minority youth and youth from disadvantaged communities. A passport is an excellent investment. So is a library card, a computer, a certification program, or a college course.
I would love to hear your ideas on productive ways for your youth to spend their time and money.
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic enrichment opportunities to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs.