Ask the Mompreneur:
Your 10-year-old daughter Zoe has put together a non-profit event called the FUN Festival for Fairness and Unity Now, which will benefit the Dilworth Soup Kitchen and Habitat for Humanity. I’m incredibly impressed that such a young person could coordinate something with live music, dancing, games, face-painting, and a raffle! How did you nurture this entrepreneurial spirit in your daughter?
I’m really proud of her and I hope that we’ll get a great turn out for this event!
The FUN Festival will take place on Saturday, November 3, from 1 – 5 p.m. at First Christian Church, 1200 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC. It’s a non-religious event and everyone is welcome. You can also make a donation by calling 704-358-3587.
As for supporting young entrepreneurs, I think there are three keys.
When you believe in your kids, they’ll believe in themselves
You know how when you play someone who’s better than you in, say, tennis, you rise to the occasion? It’s like that with our kids. When I expect my daughter to be able to handle something, she does. When I have confidence in her abilities and send the unspoken message “you’re capable” she is instantly more likely to become capable.
For example, as a toddler, if Zoe wanted to make cookies and needed the milk, she’d ask me to get it. Instead of always getting it for her, sometimes I would ask “What do you need to help you reach it?” Rather than doing it for her, I would prompt her with questions that would help her see how she was capable on her own.
Another confidence building practice I've used with Zoe is making her responsible for divvying up her allowance into 5 categories: spending, gifts, school supplies, savings, and donations. The process communicates the importance of budgeting, thinking ahead, prioritizing, and even giving back to the community. But there are no lectures. Zoe is happy because she enjoys the autonomy and initiates conversations when she wants input.
Follow your passion and your kids will follow theirs
I believe the most important thing we can teach our kids is to follow your passion. Seriously. DO WHAT YOU LOVE. This gets extra stars. When we’re doing what we love, we turn into “energizer bunnies.”
And of course our children learn best from what we model. Isn't that perfect? So this is a great time to pick up something you love again. And make sure your kids see you doing it.
As Americans, we value hard work, but sometimes neglect to nurture ourselves with hobbies or pastimes that bring us energy vs. constantly expending it. So get busy doing what you love and double the pleasure because you’ll know you’re teaching your kids the value of passion in the process!
Trust that it’s never “too little”
Work on teaching the mentality that every little bit helps. Zoe was extremely frustrated to find out that she was too young at age 6 to go on a Habitat for Humanity build. I remember the conversation we had that she was too little to help in that way for now, but what else could she do that she would enjoy? We discussed that the builders couldn't build without supplies and the supplies couldn't be bought without funds.
So she decided to hold a lemonade stand with a friend. They each picked an organization they were passionate about and donated the proceeds from a very hot day. I took Zoe over to Habitat so she could donate her earnings in person. There is a sense of pride and an irreplaceable feeling of accomplishment from helping others that I wanted her to get addicted to early in life.
In the end, it does take a little extra time, thought, and effort to take advantage of those opportunities. But just maybe this Self Confidence-Passion-Worth approach will help your child succeed in more ways than you can even imagine.
Jennie Wong, Ph.D. is an executive coach, author of “Ask the Mompreneur,” and founder of the social shopping startup CartCentric.com. Email your entrepreneurship questions to TheJennieWong@gmail.com. Guest bloggers welcome.