I’ve been heard telling my kids that they are like buzzing bees. I’m usually exasperated when I use this description and wanting them to stop buzzing about in a frenzy. Over the last week I have seen the positive side to my personal hive of bees. It’s true they are busy, creative and in need of stimulation but there is more to them than constant motion.
We launched a family enterprise that includes all our household community. The very people who have been friends and neighbors have slowly become our family over the years and now an integral part of our lives. We have become a giant communal think tank. But our kids have been the most transformed. They are clipping threads, folding bags, ironing logos, cutting handles, and enjoying the prospect of a successful family business. Not a grumble has been uttered or a request to do something else has been heard. This is the benefit of a healthy hive grinding together toward a common goal. Our bees are ready and willing to work hard.
As a parent, it has become evident that we need to teach our kids financial responsibility, solid business practices, and how to think out of the box in the coming years as our economy finds its feet again. It is never too early to instill these key elements into our kids’ minds. Years ago we owned and operated a cafe, our children were very young, but as our new endeavor has unfolded they have mentioned things that they learned from the cafe. I would have never believed they were paying attention, but they were and the business tidbits they gleaned are playing a role in our bag business. This fact alone has solidified my own resolve to keep teaching them more about how a business should be run.
No matter what you may have or are involved with, whether a networking, direct sales or a volunteer organization; your kids can learn from it and help to their own capacity. Have them stuff envelopes or place stamps, fold letters, or organize inventory. Any job is a learning experience. If you do not have a business of your own, consider letting your kids have a beverage stand in your yard. If neighbors or friends have a yard sale, have your child ask to set up at the sale and offer a percentage of the sales back to the person who let them do it. Most people are glad to be helpful and not want to accept, but remind them that you are teaching your kids the rules of business.
Now that my kids are a bit older, I have them pay me back for their supplies when they have made enough to cover them and still feel successful. Last year they worked hard enough to save and buy a puppy. One of our sons has a raking business that he started when he was six for our neighbors and their grandma. He eventually made enough to buy his own snowboard, bindings, and a lift ticket. Our oldest son is more apt to spend and never save. He wants the money but not the work, but as he has seen the other three take a different road, it has become unavoidable for him to not understand that one way works far better than the other. We have let him live with the consequences of this and there is no better teacher than when two kids have enough money to buy an ice cream cone on a hot day and the other two spent everything they had on Pokemon cards the day before. The phrase “poetic justice” is well known around here.
I want our kids to know how to figure things out, how to think and decide a course to follow. I pray for them to endeavor toward goodness and love. Not only has this work been great for our children, I have also learned everyday from our adventures together. It’s never too early or too late to start a business and reap the benefits of the education it will give you. Whether it becomes a lasting and solid business or a flash in the pan, you will learn so much and so will your children.
By Gabrielle Krake