When Kelly Thelen's first-grade class toured NorthStar Bank Wednesday, they asked a lot of good questions and got a lot of good answers about money. Hopefully, as they get older, they'll continue to ask those same types of questions.
The kids learned some fun things like how machines can count and wrap coins a lot faster than people ever could. They also learned some good values about money, too.
Educating kids about money at an early age is a fantastic idea. By learning how to save for things in the future, they can learn the value of putting things off until they really need them.
They also learn the value of patience - of avoiding impulse buying and distinguishing needs from wants. They learn that if they avoid using credit for what they want today, they'll have the cash tomorrow to buy what they need.
And, hopefully sooner than later, they'll learn the value of earning interest on their money instead of paying interest on what they borrow. And maybe that will make them much smarter consumers of money in the long run.
Obviously, you don't have to be a kid to mishandle money - just take a look at our federal government and same major industries to see some stellar examples of that. But by developing good saving habits at an early age, hopefully kids can develop good money habits.
NorthStar Bank and Mrs. Thelen both deserve a big pat on the back for doing something great for these kids.
We hope it's a lesson they remember for a long time to come.