When my son was very young, we went to a yard sale and saw a broken down Xbox gaming system. He wanted it, and he wanted it desperately. Despite only costing a few coins for the gaming system, I insisted he didn’t need it and that our house was already too cluttered with things we didn’t use.
My son immediately went into a bargaining mode and tried to convince me that he could sell the Xbox on eBay. I was skeptical. Thinking I could dissuade him, I said, “If you don’t sell it within a couple of weeks, then we will give it away.” He looked at me, smiled, then replied, “Oh, it will sell.” Less than two weeks later, my son had sold the broken down Xbox unit for more than a 400 percent profit.
Children who succeed
Since then, he and my other two children have been showcased in the news and other places for their talents and business acumen. That "yard sale" moment was the life changing point for me. Over the next several years, my wife and I vigorously studied the lives of other youth and found they had so much more potential and motivation for success than we, or others, had ever considered. We met, or talked with, over 140 youth who started their own businesses, including landscaping, baking, computer work, singing, and more.
While starting a business for youth was an exciting adventure, the true message was that, given the right tools and opportunities, youth develop a strong sense of work, accomplishment, high self-esteem, and resiliency from the negative messages with which the world attacks them. As parents, we often get deluged with requests from our children than may seem frivolous or even harmful, but if you are prepared, those little moments can give your children the kind of return they need to be happy in life. Regardless of where your child goes in life, each of the Action Steps below can be used to give them the tools of confidence and self-sufficiency they’ll need to succeed.
Visit with your child and learn what he or she likes to do.
Make it a practice to compliment your child more for their talents, than criticize or correct them for their mistakes.
Encourage your child to use their talents to help others.
Look for opportunities to make work or chores enjoyable.
Ask your child what they want to do as a future career. Ask them if they would like to visit or interview those who are already performing that kind of work.