A Lesson Learned In High School: Be Prepared For The Inevitable

There was a high school teacher with whom I clashed almost from day one.  I really didn’t like the class and the teacher, unfortunately, made it clear that you could get under his skin.

So a few of us did.

We didn’t do anything out of routine mischief, but it was enough to annoy him to the point that we got punished from time to time.  Nothing we did was serious enough to get detention or sent to the vice-principal’s office, but I did get used to his punishment of choice:

Writing that ‘stupid sentence’.

For whatever reason, the teacher thought it was fitting to have us write ‘Familiarity Breeds Contempt’ as a punishment.  It wasn’t the first teacher in my time to assign sentences (though I honestly think it might have been the last), so I got used to it.

So much so, in fact, that I prepared myself for getting punished.

I started writing them in advance.  Now, I suppose I could have just stayed out of trouble, but being a high school kid, that was pretty hard, plus by a certain point all I’d have to do was smile when someone else did something and I’d get assigned punishment.

So, I actually did have an advance stash of these ready.  And this can apply to your financial life.

Here’s a few lessons:

  1. Lower your risk – One time, I got assigned sentences the same day I had to finish getting ready for a big test.  Having to take the time for writing lines took valuable time away from my studying.  Having my stash ready mitigated this risk.
  2. Keep it secret – While I wrote the sentences out, I didn’t do so in front of other classmates or the teacher, knowing that if he caught wind that I had them ready, he would have certainly changed the sentence or something else so to thwart my plan.

Having these sentences written out was almost an emergency fund of sorts.  A lesson I learned from goofing off actually paid off in the personal finance aspect of my life years later.

And who would have ever guessed that high school mischief could turn into a life lesson?

9 thoughts on “A Lesson Learned In High School: Be Prepared For The Inevitable”

  1. This is the first time I have ever heard of something beneficial from writing sentences. Nice post! Wonder if it would help if I start writing, "I will not overspend at Christmas. I will not overspend at Christas."?

  2. this is too funny!! I remember the writing sentences thing. Unfortunately, the sentence always changed depending on what you had done. but smart thinking for being able to plan ahead!

  3. As a teacher, I would never assign those kinds of punishment. It never really works. It is interesting how you learned something from it later though!

  4. Knowing that some events have a very good probability of occurring should be motivation enough to be ready.
    I keep a windbreaker in my car, since the odds of Mrs. 101 getting cold and needing one are pretty good.
    In your case, the odds of you getting punishment were pretty high, so it made sense to keep a stash. Clever!

  5. @Pam – Great idea, maybe that's the fix for overspending!

    @Dr Dean – Weren't we all in high school?

    @Newlyweds – If he had changed the sentences, this never would have worked. Actually his preference for routine became so apparent that it's what allowed us to get under his skin!

    @AverageJoe – If my kids get assigned sentences, they can figure this one out on their own 🙂

    @krantcents – I agree, it never really changed anything.

    @Andrew – I think I actually was overprepared. I'm pretty sure I had a couple of pages filled out at the end of the year that never got turned in!

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