We may be familiar with the type as an adult, but for most of us, the stereotypical entrepreneur as a child sits behind a lemonade stand.
And I don’t know about you, but that child is rarely, if ever, seen in my neck of the woods these days. Increasing food-safety regulations and child labor laws, combined with ever-growing screen time and diminishing outdoor play time has pretty much relegated that cute little kid to being a cultural cliché.
So does that mean that our children will no longer grow up to be self-employed leaders in the business world? Au contraire, my friend! As parents, we should still be on the lookout for those entrepreneurial qualities in our kids, and then follow through by helping them grow and strengthen them.
What qualities do future entrepreneurs possess?
While I don’t want to put them in a box, and of course, individuals and personalities vary, these are some obvious signs that you may have a budding business owner in your brood! They display:
- A curiosity about how and why things work – They ask questions – sometimes uncomfortable ones – about the “back end” of things. Systems, inventions, business operations, procedures…usually lots of questions, and often ones we can’t answer – at least off the top of our heads!
- A desire to serve – They’re the type who are the first to pitch in and help, and often suggest an alternate way, or maybe even a smoother way, to “git ‘er done!” Yes, there IS a fine line between being bossy or a know-it-all, and just knowing a better way… teaching that one is on us!
- A desire to make things better – At first glance, it may look like we have an impatient youth on our hands, but that may be only because they can see a more efficient way to accomplish the task on hand, or the operation in question. You, as their parent, need to discern the difference.
- Micro-business creation tendencies – There’s a reason why the kid at a lemonade stand became a stereotype! But it doesn’t have to end there. They will not be limited to a summer job. These are the kids who rake in bucks lawn-mowing or pet-sitting because they’ve hired their friends as outside help and started their own little summer enterprise!
How should we parent those future movers and shakers?
- Encourage a viewpoint of looking at problems as challenges – Attitude IS everything, and if your child can develop the ability to look at problems in a positive light…well, that’s half the “battle!” Encourage them to seek solutions rather than focus on complaining. And related to that…
- Give them the freedom to fail, and encourage learning throughout the process – It’s hard to do sometimes, but every perceived failure can be a worthwhile learning experience with the right attitude! Help them take the time to analyze and learn from less-than-stellar results for their future endeavors.
- Enable him or her to spend time with small business owners/mentors – Nothing is better for your child than spending time with another adult entrepreneur who is eager to mentor a developing entrepreneur – especially if you don’t really possess that quality. However, make sure you trust the adult, and especially make sure they share your values if you hope for your child to spend a considerable amount of time with them.
- Teach them advanced social skills – Remember the line that a young person who has a desire to serve may cross when they become know-it-alls? Yup, here’s where teaching them how to lead with grace and humility comes in. And perhaps learning to read body language, and discover ways to engage others with a positive tone, among other skills.
Parenting, while unquestionably worthwhile and gratifying, is no easy task. Parenting a budding entrepreneur can be even more challenging than normal! But by taking the time to carefully and thoughtfully look at our children’s giftings and tendencies, we can recognize up and coming world movers and shakers.
If God has put that seed inside of them, then all we have to do as parents is help it grow and develop as He brings it to life!