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Raising Entrepreneurs

1993-01a-45Recently I had the opportunity to take my three oldest children to a home business conference a few hours away.  It was similar to other conferences I’ve been to.  There were motivational speakers.  There were speakers who’ve made millions using the market power of the Internet.  There were people who have been working a home business for just a couple of years and who have begun to see success.  And there were the speakers who have tried numerous business ventures and seen many of them blossom.

“Why take a sixteen year old to an event like that?” you may wonder.  Better yet, why take a younger child to such an event?  It cost money to attend, and the gas, food and hotel weren’t included in the price. Why, indeed?  It’s part of a vision that I have for my children, and that is for them to be thinking about what type of business each of them would like to own as they get older.

Did you catch that not so subtle shift?  What type of business they WOULD LIKE TO OWN.  If you went through public school like I did, you generally had the idea drilled in you that you were learning the three Rs and a bucket load of facts so that you might be able to — go to college.  And if you were successful in college, you were hoping to “get a good job.”

How many of us went through twelve years of compulsory education followed by four, six or eight years of higher education only to find out that “getting a good job” was a bit like a crapshoot.  The real world demanded that we have real skills — or be willing to take much less pay in order to be trained on the job.

In retrospect, the skills I learned which proved helpful to me in various jobs were typing (high school), photography (self taught), the ability to write (self taught with some extra hammering by a strong-willed English teacher), and computer skills (also self taught).  Sorry to all the teachers who invested their time in me, but physics hasn’t paid off for me.  Neither has most of my higher math.  I’m sure that Shakespeare is handy in a pinch if you’re trying out for Romeo and Juliet, but it hasn’t paid off in the real word, either.  Without going through my entire academic career or yours, I suspect that many of us could look at the sum total of our educational experience and shake the bag real hard only to find that just a handful of courses and teachers actually prepared us for the job market.

And then I turned out to be a business owner.  That’s too long of a story for here, but the short version is that I was terrified of the idea any time I thought of it.  And, I’d have to say that God snookered me into it without me realizing it at first.  Now, after having owned a small business for over a decade, I see the positive side of it.  I don’t want my children to grow up thinking, “I have to get a job working for someone else.”  I want them to find what they love to do and are gifted to do and develop that into a business which helps others and meets their own financial needs.

How about you?  What kind of worker are you raising?  If you’re in the rat race, do you love it so much that you want your children to duplicate your work history?  If not, here are some ideas for changing course.

* Look at your child’s interests and try to determine which of them might be a marketable skill.  When you determine what one or two of these skills might be, LOOK FOR SPECIALIZED TRAINING for your child.  People spend over $100,000 on a college degree which may not get them anything.  If your child likes dancing, pay for training.  They might leverage that to teach dancing or own their own studio one day.  If your child is gifted in design, pay for an art course and invest the money for good graphic arts software.

* Don’t discourage your child from sports, but be realistic.  Help your child to face the facts early on.  Less than 1% of high school athletes ever make it to the pros.  In fact, for football and basketball, it’s more like .08% and .03% who turn pro!  So unless your child happens to be the 1 in 11,000, he’s more likely to be looking for work than signing autographs in the future.

* Seek mentors for your child.  There may be someone in your town who does what your child loves to do.  There may be someone an hour or two away.  Ask if that person will spend time teaching your child a trade.  Does anyone else here remember reading about how apprenticeships were a way of life a couple hundred years ago?

* Get a copy of The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto and read it.  This book will astound you with stories of America’s early leaders and how young they were when they began owning serious businesses.  You can search on the Internet for that title plus the letters “pdf” to find numerous sites with a free download of the book or read it online at his site.

In an economic climate where businesses are cutting hours to stave off insurance requirements, do you really want your child to have to compete for a slot working for the man?  Or do you want your child to run her own business and have more of a buffer against the tides?  Act according to your goal for your children.

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4 Responses to "Raising Entrepreneurs"

  1. Sarah says:

    So true! One thing I know about your children is that they will leave “school” with a lot more life skills and having had a LOT more opportunities than many who leave regular school. Invaluable! 🙂

  2. Country Hattaway says:

    Be alert to what the Holy Spirit is advising.

  3. Country Hattaway says:

    Praise God and be blessed.

  4. Richard says:

    VERY TRUE.

    I AM OLDER AND HAVE ALWAYS HAD BETTER LUCK WORKING FOR MYSELF AND
    MAKING SURE I HAD THE NEEDED SKILLS TO WORK.

    YOU PERFORM AND DO YOUR BEST OR DO NOT GET PAID,

    PRAISE GOD

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