Monday, October 02, 2006

A Fool And His $20 Are Soon Parted

Be very afraid for your future, people. Get your handbags ready.
And whatever you do, don't drop any money.

For today's writing prompt, I gave my students a scenario and
several options. It had to be two pages long today, and I figured
they'd need extra fodder. I asked them what they would do if they
found $20 on a local convenience store parking lot. To allow
further elaboration, I asked if they would do the same thing if...

* a woman with a baby was looking around under her car
* a man was searching the parking lot
* an old person with a walker was looking for something
* a mean kid bigger than you was looking around
* a policeman was sitting in his police car
* your mom was with you
* you found $200 instead of $20
* you found money on a St. Louis parking lot instead of a local one

The majority of students said they would keep the money. About
80% of them. What is wrong with society? Why do kids not know
the difference between right and wrong? Am I the only one who
would have turned in the money? Is it just because I don't really
NEED the money, and some of them do? Is it because I am
equipped with an adult brain, and most of them are 14-16 years
old? What gives? It can't be a religious thing. Most of them talk
about going to church regularly. Which is more than I can say for
myself. Have they not been brought up right? Let's look at the
results of the assignment.

Most said they would put the $20 in their pocket and get away
from there. Which to me implies a feeling of guilt. Some said
they would ask the woman what she was looking for. Good
point. Perhaps the baby dropped its binky. One kid said she
would offer to buy the baby a new binky, if that was the case.
She also said she would probably give the woman the $20 even
if it wasn't hers, because babies need a lot of stuff to be taken
care of right.

Not one student said they would ask the man if he lost something.
Their opinion was that a man is healthy and can earn money for

About half said they would give the money to an old man with a
walker. One was afraid it was the last of his disability check, and
he would not have money for food. Another said even if it wasn't
the old man's money, he'd give it to him, because he feels sorry
for the elderly. But one did say that too bad for the old man in
the walker, you snooze, you lose. You're too slow to beat me to
the $20, and you can't catch me now!

Nobody would give it to the mean kid. Most would run away with
it before he saw them, but a couple said he'd have to fight them for
it. Some said they were actually doing a good deed, because that
mean kid probably got it by robbing other kids of their lunch money.

Only one or two were concerned with the policeman watching.
A couple said they'd ask him if he saw anyone drop anything, but
none said they'd give him the money. One said he'd ask the police
what he should do with it. Most said if the policeman questioned
them, they'd say, yeah, I found some money, but it was my own
money that I just lost. One said the policeman would just keep it
himself, because the police get away with doing all kinds of things,
and another said the policeman would just waste it on coffee and

Over half said that if their mom was with them, she wouldn't care
if they kept it. Many said their mom would probably beat them to
it, or would demand half for her cut. One said her mom would tell
her to take it in and see if anyone had reported lost money. Another
said that if his mom told him to take it to the clerk, he would walk
in but stuff it in his pocket, because his mom would never find out.
One said he would give it to his mom, because $20 would make a
difference to her.

If the amount was $200, most said they would DEFINITELY keep
it, though a few said they would give part of it to homeless people
or a nursing home. Most said that anyone who lost that much
money deserved to lose it. Another said that you should really look
around, because of karma, and maybe that money was meant for
a homeless person down on the corner, and you would mess things
up by grabbing it before it got to him. This one told the 'true' story
of a relative who had a $20 bill blow out of his hand, and another
relative several miles away who really needed money found a $20
bill blown by the wind at his feet. Several weeks later, the family
was together, and each told his story. They decided that was karma.
It was meant to be. One didn't need it, and the other did. Which is
not exactly my definition of 'karma', but I liked the story.

The only situation where the majority would not take the money was
if it was found in the city. They were afraid it was drug money, and
they would get shot for picking it up. This was the opposite of what
I believed they would say. I thought they would be more likely to
take anonymous money, whereas at a local store, they might know
the person who lost it.

A couple of them said THEY had lost money before, and the creeps
kept it and never gave it back! Duh. What goes around, comes
around, kiddies. Who knew?

Only one kid asked me what I would do with it. I said I would turn
it in, no matter what. But then, I figure someone else needs the
money more than I do. One said he would ask all the people if he
could help them find something, because they might give him money
for being nice. A lady gave him $2 for opening a door for her once.
Another said she would grab that money in the city, and drive home
as fast as she could to start searching other parking lots for money.
Another said he would never find money, because he's just not a
lucky person.

So there you have it. The future of our country. Do unto others
before they catch you. It's a ME ME ME ME world.


deadpanann said...

Over half said that if their mom was with them, she wouldn't care if they kept it. Many said their mom would probably beat them to it, or would demand half for her cut.

There's the root of the problem. Their parents are so self-seeking that they're too busy trying to "get their cut" to give a crap about what they're teaching their kids.

Mish said...

Isn't that amazing? I'm of a similar opinion as deadpanann here - it's a reflection on parents and upbringing. You're supposed to teach kids the right thing to do, innit? But how are some parents supposed to instil strong values when they don't believe in them?

The scenario you provided to the schoolkids pretty much sums up what the future generations will be like. Oh, my god. :(

Mr Bates said...

If the amount was $200, most said they would DEFINITELY keep
it, though a few said they would give part of it to homeless people
or a nursing home.

Mmm hmmmm! (Note the raised pitch on the "hmmmm".)

Hillbilly Mom said...

Miss Ann,
Ain't that a fact! Parents are the root of all evil!

Good to hear from you again, gal!

This is what we're reaping after years of that permissive "I want to be your buddy, not your parent" crap. Stop all that touchy-feely, mustn't hurt your fragile self-esteem, everybody's a winner bullsh*t and start taking responsibility for your kids, you morons!

Not you, Mish. I mean those $20-grabbing parents.

Yes. They would definitely keep it, because they are regular little philanthropists, they are!

MrsCoach2U said...

Scary ain't it!!!!!! I found $1.00 on the school parking lot the other night at a football game, I took it to the concession stand and told them to give some little kid who didn't have any money some candy. Dang it if my kid didn't come back with a sucker later, said the lady at the concession stand gave it to her because she didn't have any money.............I tried!

Hillbilly Mom said...

Do you watch Seinfeld? Probably not, what with all the traveling by school bus that you seem partial to. You are like Jerry when Elaine tossed a $20 bill out the window, and five minutes later he put on a jacket, and found a $20 bill in the pocket. You are Even Steven.