Why context, not content, will prepare your child for the future
I want to talk about content vs. context, and why the difference is important for how you prepare your child for the future. Pictured below is a water glass, partially filled with water. For purposes of this lesson, the water in the glass represents content. The water glass itself represents context.
Education Is About Content
Traditional education focuses on content: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Traditional education does not focus on context: the student.
My problems in school began when I did not like the content (the water) my teachers were pouring into my head. Every time I objected, saying, “Why am I studying this?” their answers were uniformly the same, “If you don’t get a good education you won’t get a good job.”
I’ve grown to understand that my teachers’ responses demonstrated a lack of concern for my context. They assumed I wanted to be an employee.
What Is Context?
Context holds the content. Contexts can be visible, invisible, human, or non-human.
A person’s context includes:
A poor person’s context is seen in their words:
“I’ll never be rich.”
“The rich will not go to heaven.”
“I’d rather be happy.”
“The government should take care of people.”
The reason many people are poor is because they have a poor context. In most cases, more money will not make a poor person rich. In many cases, giving a poor person money keeps them poor longer...often forever.
This is also the reason why so many lottery winners are soon broke. The same often holds true for sports stars.
A Matter of Priorities
Notice the shift in priorities, values, and words that communicate a middle-class person’s context:
“I must get a good education.”
“I need a high-paying job.”
“I want a nice house in a nice neighborhood.”
“Job security is very important.”
“How much vacation time do I have?”
People with a middle-class context typically don’t get rich. Many go deeper in debt to “keep up with the Joneses.” Instead of investing, people with a middle-class context just consume more. They buy a bigger house, take nice vacations, drive expensive cars, and spend money on higher education.
Since most people buy on credit, they often find themselves getting deeper in debt—bad debt, consumer debt—rather than getting richer.
Context is Knowledge
When people with a middle-class context hear, “There is good debt and bad debt,” their context closes. All they know is bad debt, debt that makes them poorer. Most cannot grasp the idea of good debt, the kind of debt that can make them richer.
For many of these people, it is best that they simply follow the advice of those who counsel, “Cut up your credit cards and get completely out of debt.” That is the content (the water) that their context can handle.
When it comes to investing, most middle-class people have the context, the belief system that supports the position that “investing is risky.” That is because most invest in traditional education for college degrees, but fail to invest in financial education.
The Context of the Rich
Examples of statements that reflect a rich person’s context might include:
“I must be rich.”
“I own my own business, and my work is my life.”
“Freedom is more important than security.”
“I take on challenges so I can learn more.”
“I want to find out how far I can go in life.”
Most of these people are true capitalists. They know how to us OPT, Other People’s Talents, and OPM, Other People’s Money.
When a middle-class person puts their savings or retirement fund into a bank, the banker lends that money to the capitalist.
This is why my rich dad said, “Context is more important than content.”
A Better Education: Context Before Content
One reason I had a tough time in school was because I had no plans to be an employee. I wanted to be an employer, an entrepreneur. Every time a teacher attempted to motivate me with, “If you don’t get good grades, you won’t get a good job,” I checked out...my mind just shut off. By the time I was twelve, I had been working with rich dad for three years. I no longer had the context of an employee.
The statement, “You won’t get a good job,” worked on my classmates who wanted to be employees. It did not work on me.
The lesson is this: “Context determines content.” If my teachers had said, “I’m going to teach you how to raise capital so you can start your own business,” I would have been all-ears. I would have been sitting at the front of the class. I would have said, “Pour that content in!”
Today, ask yourself, what is my context? Am I happy with my context? Or do I want it to change? If you want to be rich, you must have a rich person’s context. And that starts with learning what the rich know about money— their financial education.