Magazine article USA TODAY

Start Those Lessons Early

Magazine article USA TODAY

Start Those Lessons Early

Article excerpt

IT NEVER IS TOO EARLY to start teaching your kids about entrepreneurship, as one day they will learn that they cannot rely on Corporate America or the government to make their dreams come true. So, what can we teach our kids to prepare them for reality?

Instead of how to prepare a resume, show them how to prepare a business plan and find investors and office space. When kids are taught how to write a good resume, the "hidden" message they are sent is that their best and highest use is to work for someone else. Instead, send the message that it is very possible they will own their own business one day. Teach them to pursue their dreams--that it is expected; that it is the norm, not the exception.

More money comes from solving other people's problems than from performing other people's tasks.

While washing dishes, flipping hamburgers, sweeping floors, making copies, and digging ditches are important, these jobs do not pay well because, as a society, we are willing to pay more for people to solve our problems than we are for them to perform our basic tasks. That is why doctors, engineers, software designers, computer programmers, those in high tech, accountants, and lawyers make more money than most other people. These individuals solve difficult problems for us. Moreover, the bigger the problem you solve, the bigger your paycheck. The more problems you solve, the more money you make. So, do not teach kids simply how to memorize and recite facts in school, but how to solve problems--not just mathematical ones, but real-world, life problems. Allowing them to struggle and make their own decisions is one of the best things we can do for them.

Kids should be allowed to fail.

We should encourage our children to try as many different things as possible--and fail at them. Nothing teaches life's lessons faster and more permanently than failure. However, we need to remind them that just because they failed does not make them a failure. Encourage them to get back up, and remind them that many of history's greatest entrepreneurs failed over and over before they became successful. Thomas Edison created more than 10,000 prototypes of the light bulb before he created one that worked. Many years later, he said, "I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work. …

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