When I was younger I remember teachers asking me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was a legitimate question. They were trying to get me to think ahead, get into the practice of thinking about my financial future. This is an important aspect of growing into a well-rounded, contributing adult.
What bothered me is they never phrased the question in a way that impressed upon me that I didn’t have to “grow up” in order to be something. They could have asked, “What do you want to be right now?” and used my answer to show me how I can create a career for myself right away.
Many of us are familiar with Proverbs 22:6 which says, Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Obviously we see this verse as telling us we need to train our child in the way of the Bible, and that is 100% accurate. Reading the five verses before it shows that this passage is mainly concerned with being sure the child is trained in the ways of strong spiritual character.
But, why didn’t my teachers and other adults in my life think to themselves to use lessons in business ownership as a way to mold me in both future career concerns as well as spiritual matters? If they had asked me, “What business would you start right now if you could?” I would have told them “a dance squad” or “running errands for people in the neighborhood.” This would have been their opportunity to explain to me:
1. How I’d go about finding other teens to join my business
2. How to attain clients
3. The importance of being honest in my business dealings
4. How to manage an income, etc.
Let’s say a young lady of ten years old wants to start a lemonade stand. Her parents can sit with her to decide a work schedule, price, location of the stand and also what to do with the money earned.
The average American ten year old is well-practiced at asking, “Mom can you buy me that toy?” In this parent’s mind, children of this age should also know intimately how long it takes to earn the money for said toy. If she owned a lemonade stand she’d look back at her many hours sitting on the sidewalk waiting for customers, the energy it took to make pitcher after pitcher of lemonade after mom and dad’s friends bought it all. She’d remember the thankful mailman who bought two cups, the draining effect of the weather on her energy and of course the thrill of counting her money at the end of the day. And, of course, she would appreciate her earnings more because she sacrificed her Saturday cartoons in order to work her business. Of course, let’s not forget, this young lady would learn how much of her profits should be put back into the business in order to cover the expenses for the next two weeks, next month, etc.
Our children should be educated in these things when they’re young so that “when they are old they will not depart from” them. Imagine how much better off the American economy would be today if our citizens were better trained in entrepreneurship (and all it entails) during their elementary, junior high and high school years.
If a fifth grader started a business and continued his entrepreneurship through his high school graduation he would have seven years of business experience which his peers lack. He would already have a resume whereas his college-bound peers would only be starting their real-life education at the local burger joint.
Imagine where you would be right now if you’d had seven years of business ownership experience right out the gate after your high school graduation! That is a BIG step up ahead of the competition.
Do you not want that for your children?
Adults, I think it is time to stop asking our precious young ones what they want to be WHEN they grow up.
Let’s ask them, “What do you want to be WHILE growing up?