KidTrek: Church Based After School Programs – Delayed Gratification and Critical Thinking

I was at a center one afternoon when the store was open.  The kids stood in line awaiting their turn to enter the store.  I was sitting to the side of the line with the director.

As Thomas walked up the director addressed him, “Hey Thomas have you bought your ticket to go to the snow next weekend?

“No,”  came the almost whispered response.

“Well do you want to go to the snow?” the director asked.

“Yes,” hesitantly and again barely whispered.

“If you don’t buy your ticket today you won’t be able to go the snow with us.  You better get that ticket today.”  the director challenged.

“But, but I only have this amount of money and I’ve been saving to buy that Erector set and I really really want it, if I buy the ticket I won’t have the money for the Erector set,” Thomas rambled without stopping.

“Okay, I understand,” the director said. “But let’s think this through.  If you buy the Erector set today you can’t go to the snow; but what if you buy your ticket to go to the snow, how long will it take to earn enough money to get the Erector set?”

There was silence for a moment as Thomas thought.  “Maybe a couple of weeks.”

“So see you can have both, even if it means you have to wait a while for the Erector set.”

Thomas bought the ticket to the snow that day.  More importantly Thomas learned to think critically.  He learned that through delayed gratification in one area you can gain even more in the big scheme of things.

Each center has a complete banking system which includes:

  • checking accounts; each kid has his own check book, and savings accounts – with interest.
  • Some centers have Christmas saving accounts where the kids can earn a higher interest.
  • The kids are also taught to tithe their money.
    • The bucks they give as a tithe is then used to purchase something for a needy family, for a preschool, etc..

 KidTrek Bucks are treated like real money.  If it is lost or stolen it is not replaced – even if mom washes your pants and your money gets destroyed the bank does not replace it. 

 Responsibility is taught.  Kids learn to care for their money and how it is handled – it is rarely left just laying out on a table.


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