If you’ve ever looked at the state of the world and thought to yourself, “we could be doing better,” you are not alone. Millions of people around the world are struggling just to bring the basic necessities into their lives on a daily basis. So it can seem trivial to be thinking about how to start a business when there are so many people struggling. But what if starting that business was the answer to those problems? What if by putting one foot in front of the other, people could help themselves and each other? That’s the message that entrepreneurship puts forth and that’s the message that you’ll want to be instilling in your children as we round the corner into the second quarter of the 21st century.
Encouraging kids to consider a life of entrepreneurship not only ensures our children grow up with a sense of purpose and passion, but it gives them permission to pursue that sense of purpose and passion. How many of you grew up wishing you were doing anything else besides what you were doing? How many of you took the factory job – and maybe still have the factory job – but are secretly reading articles like this day in and day out? It’s because you recognize that had you been given permission to follow your dreams, the world might be a very different place right now. Or, at least, your world, would be a very different place.
But how can you encourage your kids to pursue entrepreneurship as a career option without it sounding like you are trying to get them to follow in your footsteps or bring to fruition the life you never allowed yourself to have? We’ve all known the mom who wanted her daughter to be the ballet dancer she could never be. Well, thankfully, there’s no need to push or beg children to pursue these ideals anymore. Many of them are coming to it on their own. It takes little more than a suggestion that they could be a Youtuber or a gamer, developer or artist, singer or event promoter and you can see the child’s mind spinning.
What we have to give this generation is the permission to chase down the dreams we didn’t have the courage to chase. Although the 30 and 40-year-olds in the crowd grew up with slightly more enlightened parents than the 40 and 50-year-olds in the group, our parents didn’t have the skills or wherewithal to point us in the right direction. We grew up believing we could be anything we wanted to be, but nobody was talking about how we could accomplish those things. It was as if the kids of the 70s and 80s were just supposed to figure it out.
Luckily, these days we are surrounded by opportunities and resources where we can point our children to get the help they need. Want to design a game online? Take a workshop over the weekend. Want to start a blog? Sign up for a webinar on Thursday evening. Kids no longer have to figure out how to negotiate their way through life – all the information they need is right at their fingertips. We just have to encourage them to access it, with a grain of salt always, and put that newfound knowledge to work.
One of the best ways to encourage our kids to pursue a life of entrepreneurship is to ask them lots of questions and help them develop into curious beings that aren’t afraid of looking for the answers to their own problems. We often try to pass off our problems and downplay them, but when your child is prepared for handling conflict and issues, they are prepared for handling problem-solving. You don’t have to enroll them in business classes at age 12, but you can encourage them to talk about their ideas and ask questions about ideas they have. You can also ask them questions about their ideas and take a genuine interest in what skills and talents they want to develop and share with the world.
Here’s the thing: it is easy to squash a child’s dream. People do it every day. If your kid is showing signs of wanting to be in business for themselves, or even if you want to ensure they know that this is at least an option available to them later in life, then share those opportunities with them. Don’t hold them to it, but be open to sharing your thoughts, dreams, and ideas, and be open to hearing about theirs. No idea is stupid. Pet rocks were once best-selling items, after all. There is room for everyone’s ideas at the world’s table, so encourage your child to claim their seat.