Children are naturally willing to take risks. We can easily recognize this as they tackle the playground, go down the largest slide, jump from the highest point, and show off their abilities to their parents. Many times they will fall as they are learning to walk, and with determination, they will keep getting back up for their next attempt.
Children do not recognize this as failure; they are one step closer to success. They may fall 50 to 100 times and yet will continue to keep on trying, to move forward until they get it right.
Their gifts are undeniable; they believe they can achieve greatness from a very young age. As parents, it is our privilege to nurture their entrepreneurial qualities and facilitate an environment for them to flourish.
A Seed Is Planted
Entrepreneurship starts with a mindset. It is planted in the home by parents uniquely positioned to influence the paths that kids will choose for their careers. The first seed a parent can plant to help kids grow into natural entrepreneurs is the seed of hope. Entrepreneurs, prior to taking risks, are filled with belief. We pursue, with confidence, our own reality of what is possible. Hope, planted and nurtured, blossoms into a mindset tuned toward the pursuit of a life filled with accomplishment and fulfillment of purpose.
The Common Mindset
Making sacrifices is part of life. We are all going to do things at times we really do not enjoy. Perhaps this is just the way of life: go to school, find the job with the best carrot, get married, have kids and pay bills. We all just need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and work hard to make money; that’s all there is to it.
The Original Mindset
I believe each one of us is designed for a specific purpose. We are not here just to procreate and live sacrificial lives as money machines for our bills. Hard work is important. Jobs are important. We should be thankful; jobs are often seasons of our lives with paid education in the discovery process. Like a vehicle on the production line, it often takes several steps to shape and prepare us until we are driving forward in our design, living out our purpose. Though widely accepted, employment is not supposed to be the norm! This mindset is the result of a societal shift marked by the industrial revolution and the supporting education system. We are, by design, entrepreneurs.
Many years ago, I discovered a study that shocked me. The study was done with a large group of senior citizens who were asked to reflect and list their worst childhood memory. As one might expect, the answers were abuse, neglect, abandonment, alcoholism in the home, etc. However, the number one answer was this: “Witnessing my parents not live out their purpose.”
What? This was the top answer? I have studied psychology and worked with kids for years, and this did not seem correct. How could this be the worst memory this group of people had carried into their senior years? After puzzling over this for a while, I came up with two thoughts:
1. How many of us compromise or give up?
2. What message does this convey to our children?
One of the greatest emotions a human being can feel is hope. This is a starting point for entrepreneurs; we are hopeful for what is possible in creating our own future. We face challenges, take risks, fail, succeed and move forward. When a parent gives up, even in a small way, this can deliver a direct message of hopelessness to the child. Without hope, fear and avoidance of risks takes hold, so that entrepreneurship is no longer a pathway in this trapped mindset.
Throughout my life I watched my mother live a perpetual life of sacrifice for her kids. Then, when all of her kids had grown up, she adopted more, and still she gave up everything for her kids. As if that was not enough, she opened a daycare to do everything for other people’s kids. Now, this would make sense if it was her only purpose, but today I see this is not the case. She still has dreams, goals, and amazing ambitions apart from raising children. All of us kids respect the many sacrifices our mother made, but I know we would love nothing more than to see our mother do what she loves. There is something great still waiting to be discovered in her future.
Super Models Wanted
Believe it or not, one of the top career openings in the United States is that of an entrepreneur. We are designed to follow our passions, create things, and influence others. I know many people who are living lives of regret, wishing they would have taken the risk to do what they love. They lost hope and traded in their dreams for comfort, renaming it “security.” They live with the thoughts of “what if?” It is the act of walking through our fears that forges our design and reveals our purpose.
Parents, in our homes and in the marketplace, we are super models to our children. Our actions always communicate a message. Our example impacts the next generation. Modeling the answer is, and always has been the best teacher. Let’s make sure our lives boldly portray a message of hope. Let’s live out our designs and leave our prints on the world, enriching the lives of our children to do the same.
— Jeff Glass is a copywriter, children’s book author, youth advocate and social entrepreneur. Jeff writes entrepreneurial curriculums for the state of Nevada and the juvenile justice system. He lives in Carson City with his wife and 3 kids.