This article from the online Wall Street Journal got my attention: “How to Raise an Entrepreneur,” by Barbara Haislip. It not only quotes some of the great entrepreneurs of our time about the personal strengths that matter, it suggests tips for parents to ingrain these behavior patterns. Here are some of the recommendations highlighted in the article:
- Ask questions constantly to stimulate the curiosity.
- Put kids in new situations that allow them to explore.
- Get them toys that require them to solve problems.
- Require them to do high-quality work at home and school.
- Teach them how to control anger and other negative emotions.
- Get them involved in sports to learn teamwork and how to deal with failure.
- Help them observe their community for what it needs and for examples of entrepreneurship.
- Encourage outdoor activities that require risk-assessment and risk-taking.
- Teach the “Golden Rule” in relationships.
Of course a brief article like this can’t cover everything. To the above list, I would add:
- Teach kids how to manage money – bank accounts, credit cards, investments.
- Expect them to find work and earn money for the things they want. Getting a job is good, but a kid can often earn a lot more money by recognizing the difficulties in people’s lives and organizing a business to fill some of these needs.
- Encourage and reward creative efforts.
Yes, this is a lot to remember and a lot to do. But a lot is at stake – who your child grows up to be and what he or she will end up doing in life. In a busy day, be on the lookout for “teachable moments” and opportunities to offer support or do one thing that will nudge the child in the right direction.