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What We Teach

Why we teach Sound Judgment in YE

At Youth Entrepreneurs, the principles that guide our behavior are called Foundational Values. We believe these YE values are critical to helping our students grow. Our Foundational Values are responsibility, knowledge, passion, sound judgment, be principled, freedom, opportunity and win-win focus. We’re taking a look at each one, continuing with Sound Judgment.


Sound Judgment means using economic thinking to create the greatest benefit while using the least resources. “When we think about sound judgment, we think about maximizing benefit with all of our resources, including time, money, material and human capital,” says Lindsay Downing-Schroeder, the Southern Kansas and Oklahoma Area Director for YE. “It’s about seeing the value you are adding to society — and to your own life — with the resources you’ve invested.”


The value of Sound Judgment is central to cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset in students because making the most of our resources matters in so many settings, Lindsay explains. “When you use Sound Judgment in your daily life, whether you’re creating a product or service, you’re making the greatest impact for society that you can.”


Furthermore, Lindsay says, learning Sound Judgment in YE can help students avoid common entrepreneurial pitfalls later on. “Sometimes, early on as an entrepreneur, we can stumble when it comes to Sound Judgment and realize too late how we could have created more value. But had we thought about Sound Judgment from the get-go, things could have turned out differently.”


Students learn the importance of Sound Judgment in a number of ways in the YE classroom, including the Invention Game activity. The activity starts with lots of craft supplies, from markers and paper to Post-It notes and more. “Teachers challenge their students to create or invent a product from these resources within a limited time frame,” Lindsay says. “Some students take as many craft supplies as they can, but only use about a quarter. Did the students do what was best for everyone in the classroom? Some groups may not have had enough resources because other groups took too many, for example. These are great opportunities to start the conversation around Sound Judgment.”


The value also comes into play during Market Day, when they see the effects of Sound Judgment in a hands-on way in creating their own pop-up businesses. “We’ll have students who want to sell tamales, plus rice, beans and soda, for example. But they realize that selling the tamales is really where they created the most value, when they see how they made the most money on the key item. Adding on the extra elements, they can’t actually serve as many people and can’t create the most benefit.”


"No matter what a YE student decides to do professionally — whether they start a business or take an entrepreneurial approach in their role at another organization — Sound Judgment teaches them critical thinking skills and a framework for making decisions,” Lindsay concludes. “These Foundational Values all can be used on a daily basis, and as our students grow, they become more aware of how they can apply these values in their lives.”