The real story behind the little girl’s encounter with Pope Francis is fascinating.

There is a great lesson in it for kids that relates to money management and beyond. The lesson – planning and preparation are essential to success. Planning and preparation pay off.

“We planned to do this from the moment we learned he was coming to the States,”

shared Juan Jose Gutierrez of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition.

You can read the story behind Sophie Cruz’s chance meeting with Pope Francis via CBS and the Associated Press:

Little girl’s pope encounter not as spontaneous as it looked


Juan and his team went to school on the Pope. They did it much the same way Bill Belichick and other professional sporting coaches diagnosis game film. Having been trained for twelve years in an engineering, research and development environment, I am not surprised. Our thinking was, the best accidents are engineered. It does not always work, and it is not guaranteed, but planning and preparation certainly improve everyone’s chances of success. It applies to saving and investing money as well. Financial returns from saving money may not outpace inflation. Financial returns from investing money are not guaranteed. But, both prepare and position everyone to have greater opportunity for success and making big dreams come true.


There is a second lesson related to Sophie Cruz’s success. This one is for parents, teachers, and trainers. It is a vital lesson on how astonishingly capable kids are of learning. Dr. Katy Merrill, former principal at Vine Elementary School in West Covina, CA, was the first to point this out to me. It occurred after our very first reading of the book, It’s a Habit, Sammy Rabbit. Dr. Merrill shared one of the big mistakes adults make working with kids is underestimating their ability to learn and understand difficult concepts. She said children can do it. It is up to us as educators to communicate information in a manner that gives kids the possibility of grasping it. She went on to say, kids minds are like sponges, they have an amazing ability to absorb knowledge. They just soak it in. Sophie Cruz’s flawless and poised presentation provides a timely reminder of this key insight. The University of Cambridge study revealing adult money habits are set by age 7 makes it crucial that those in financial education recognize this point as well. Kids can and are learning early!


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