We all, to some extent, want better for our kids than we’ve had. At least, that’s what I grew up with, and that’s what I’ve always wanted for our own children.
But very few of us give thought to what that exactly means, and how we can constructively help our kids reach that goal. In other words, it’s one thing to say that’s what we want, but quite another to take concrete steps in that direction.
I’ve been blessed to know quite a few entrepreneurs in my day; my husband and I have owned and run a few small businesses ourselves, and I’m currently developing yet another endeavor. Over the years, we’ve had our share of booms and busts, and watched others’ businesses both fly and fail. Having taken the time to analyze what happened in more than a few of those situations, I’ve come to understand that there are particular personal skills that are instrumental to success. Encouraging our kids to develop them now will help them in their current personal lives, and in whatever form their future business involvement takes.
Skill #1 – Being Engaged
I’m not referring to slipping a ring on anyone’s finger, nor am I suggesting that anyone become married to their job! But whatever situation we find ourselves in, an engaged person is aware. Engaged people have their eyes open and “service antennae” up, looking for ways to help, contribute, problem solve and lead. They are aware of what’s going on in their environment, and seek outlets for their own skills and talents that can benefit those around them, whether it’s friends, church family, their own customers, or an employer.
Skill #2 – Being Curious
This one is essential for entrepreneurs! Asking questions and being open to trying out new approaches and new answers introduces excitement and inspiration to whatever projects our kids will be involved in and whatever team they find themselves on. Curiosity is the foundation of opportunity, invention, improvement and progress!
Skill #3 – Having Effective Time Management/Prioritizing Skills
Is it just me, or do you get the sense of how easy it is in this day and age to lose track of time? The internet, and especially social media, is a great example of just one of the temptations we succumb to which fritters away vast amounts of time, unless we have personal controls in place. The basic concept of time management is really not rocket science: know what you have to do and when you have to have it done by! Adding in the skill of being able to establish priorities will help them fine-tune this ability: it’s essential to learn the difference between activities that are important and those that are urgent!
Skill #4 – Being Able to Say “No!”
Depending on their spiritual gifting, this may be a real challenge! Saying “no” has always been hard for me. I was raised to be a helper, and possess the gift of mercy, so I’ve always felt that teeny bit of guilt whenever I turn someone or something down. But understanding that you can’t be all things to all people is a valuable lesson in humility, as well as a practical tool to use to manage your personal time and evaluate your priorities. It’s healthy to be able to say “no!”
Skill #5 – Exercising Follow-Through
The person whose word can be trusted will find favor and success wherever they go and in whatever they do. Today’s culture is the age of the 2-second attention span, with an endless array of distractions. As a result, very often commitments are put off or even entirely forgotten. Ensuring that our “yes” is yes and our “no” is no, and sticking to it, is not only something to aspire to personally and professionally, but it is also sound Biblical behavior.
So your work’s marked out for you, parents! These are qualities that will not only serve us well as adults, but by modeling them for our children, and mentoring them as they develop them in their own lives, we will be setting them on a firm foundation for future success.