Interesting article today related to my ongoing theme and future book on Raising Entrepreneurs. Writer Jeff Opdyke (so close to John Updike he was destined to write!) comments on his thirteen year old getting a job. Actually it’s a great write up as he contemplates the reality of teaching his young ones how to work and instilling some kind of work ethic. The disconnect comes with thinking work is somehow a deterrent to having a great childhood! Nothing could be farther from the truth. The problem here is that we’ve associated work with jobs at a fast-food restaurant or blue collar operation.
Sure, not every child comes from a family where opportunity is readily available (although many can make it happen if they really try – most won’t) But certainly John’s do. Stop thinking about work as something a teenager goes out to do and start thinking more in terms of the entrepreneurial experiences available along side a parent or sibling. The writer actually comes close to making the right connection when he references the traveling and learning experiences his thirteen year old is already engaged in. Think outside the box. What can he do to incorporate this child in his own work in a more profitable way?
We’ve created worldview that assumes all well-off families have children that will follow suite without experiencing the work we did to get here. That’s just wrong. From there, we assume that teen years should be spent playing ball, and then somehow, magically, one is transformed in their college years, into a hard working, creative entrepreneur. This is also not true. The time to start is now! In those early years, finding exciting ways to make money. My kids are bee farming, building things, creating jewelry, building blogs and websites, and writing books. They are making money through their own creative efforts, and daily, they consider how else one might creatively start a new line of business. It’s a game in a way. What need can I meet, and how can make it a win/win that produces profit for me and value to my clients? Are they somehow missing out on a great childhood? I doubt it.
You can read John’s article here (and I do recommend reading it): http://online.wsj.com/article/SB128121678189825407.html?mod=iGoogle
2 thoughts on “Raising Entrepreneurs: WSJ Writer Is Missing Something…”
Both view points were very interesting and I am able to relate to both…Having a similar background in my youth to Jeff Opdyke… (Yard maintenance, car washing, babysitting (lived in an apartment complex during teen years and milked that cash cow!) as well as getting on a company’s payroll as a bus boy, dishwasher, and grocery clerk) I see value in a payroll paying job as well as yours in more entrepreneurial ways. Our oldest child sounds eerily familiar to John’s son however when she was picked as of one of sixty employees out of 500+ applicants at the new Chic Fil A…wow! We have seen it spark something in her that my wife and I could not seem to light…and we count that as a blessing. Our younger two seem more apt to get creative to raise money for the latest desire and our philosophy is you raise 50% and we will match 50%. We do this as we want the goal to be reachable in a shorter time as well as for them to know we want to see them succeed in reaching it. However another skill we promote is to do service work. First and foremost we believe it is why we are all here…to serve others. Secondly there is such great feelings one receives when doing so which is what we want them to experience with frequency. When we see them doing acts of service we also see the recipients wanting to do something nice back to/for them and their Mother and I always feel inclined to help them get that next new shiny thing they want without the 50/50 rule. For us it really comes down to open communication as why we have such desires and guidelines for them as well as wanting to stimulate their creativity which should help us all understand their gifts and talents.
Thanks for your thoughtful comments Jim – either way, it takes thought and guidance to discern what’s best.