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Raising an entrepreneur

I was reading through the news this past weekend and came across an article on hard and fast rules for “raising a successful entrepreneur”. My first thought was what is in the definition of “success” and my second concern was the one size fits all leading statement. Further reading led me to discover rules which were once not considered revolutionary and it seems we have gone astray when they are now considered outside the norm.

The first rule is to give kids extreme independence. For example, letting them engage in activities which might lead to injury or discover lessons only learned through experience. I am going to guess that includes skate boards, monkey bars, kitchen appliances, playing piñata with bee hives and other similar opportunities to exhibit personal responsibility (even if not coupled with common sense!)

The second is an ability to nurture servant leadership. The ability to go beyond doing unto others as you would have them do unto you and actually serve others knowing there might be nothing to gain personally.

The third is the ability to “welcome failure early and often”. The ability of parents to step out of the way and let children not only fail but more importantly figure out how to correct the situation. I watched this take place at our Children’s Business Fair last weekend when a kidpreneur was unable to keep up with orders because her younger helper was not up to the task. Her father stepped back and let her solve the problem whereby she pulled in the sibling of another kidpreneur. Way to go Dad!

The final piece of advice is to get out of the way. Learn how to let your child’s passions be the lead and not your own. To simply recognize they are not an extension of you and more often than not do not need your “fixes” to what they do not see as problems.

My grandfather quit school at 13 to work on the farm. He left home at 16 to roughneck on oil derricks. He was a carpenter, electrician, plumber and expert craftsman. The only element of building a home he did not oversee was the pouring of the concrete. He built over 100 homes from the slab to handing you the front door key before going on to be a cattle rancher his last 25 years.

I am pretty certain his parents (my great grandparents) would have thought an article like this was a joke less than a hundred years ago. I have many fond memories of my grandfather and working with him on the ranch. Driving as soon as my feet could reach the pedals, using power tools as soon as I could lift them, doing “real” work, work with purpose to which we both could be proud.

He was very proud his sons all received college degrees; however, what he probably never realized, the way he sowed into them, and me, was far more beneficial than any piece of paper which hangs on our office walls. Wanting the best for us meant letting us discover our passions, by loving others as Christ teaches and not being afraid to fail. I pray more parents re-discover these timeless tested truths.


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