One of the great thrills of parenthood is getting to teach your children about life. Passing along your wisdom and setting your kids up for success has to be one of the most fulfilling things you can do.
But teaching your children is about much more than showing them how to tie their shoes and get good grades. Speaking of grades, our society set up schools on a factory model. Industrial manufacturers needed employees who went to a building all day and performed tasks to minimum standards. Schools still run the same way today.
I bumped up against that model. Therefore, my kids have been very successful. Here is what I did.
I spent more time with my children.
As an entrepreneur, I had to work 12 hours, sometimes 16 hours per day. I worried that the family would wind up in second place. So I always came home for dinner. And often, if I had to go back to the office, I would take one of the kids with me.
I got them involved in the business. I would give them tasks, and when they completed those tasks, I would give them a little spending money. As they completed other work, I would give them some more money or a treat they had been wanting. For example, I took my daughter for a motorcycle ride after she had worked with me one day.
By the time they finished high school, my kids had done something like 30 different jobs, from putting boxes together to cleaning tables, packing orders, doing data entry on the computer, performing office administrative duties, shipping products, and working on the production line.
Give kids a wide range of chores and business tasks and reward them for their work. They will understand that it takes to run a business, while learning the value of being compensated for their efforts.
I helped them find their passions.
I let my kids try a variety of employment situations. They needed to explore their tastes. They didn’t necessarily have to do things only in my business.
I let them try jobs like bagging groceries and learning how a grocery store runs. I didn’t care if they tried landscaping, helping out in a retail store, or working at any other enterprise. They didn’t have to try the work environments I would have chosen, and they were free to decide that they didn’t like whatever they tried.
Let children choose what types of businesses they want to learn about. Forcing them to do something that is not their passion won’t work.
I taught them the value of helping others.
From helping at home to helping at my business, I made it clear that they were assisting the family and the company. They learned that helping others is part of the reason for doing tasks. Every business solves somebody’s problems.
Children want to contribute. I didn’t send them away if they wanted to help with the dishes or help ship products. I didn’t let myself feel inconvenienced by their enthusiasm.
Children who contribute learn to value others and themselves. That is what running a business or working for one is all about.
I taught them predictability.
I provided my children with a reliable emotional environment. They knew my boundaries, expectations, and reactions to them not following guidelines. I was predictable regarding what I approved of and what would upset me.
I made sure to stick to my standards. If a punishment was necessary, I did what I said I would do, such as sending them to their rooms for a specific period. And that time was definite. If it was supposed to be 60 minutes, I didn’t give in at 58 minutes.
You can teach honor and integrity. In business, it is essential to live up to expectations and do what you promised you would do.
The Bottom Line
If you instill good habits and give children lots of hands-on experience, they will not only learn how to become successful, they will learn to be responsible people. Irresponsible people seldom succeed at a company.