In order for our children to be financially successful, we must educate them to think about being an employer instead of the employee.
Can parents teach their children to be business owners even though they have never done it themselves? The response is, yes! One example I offer was my father.
He worked many hours and had several of us to feed and educate. He worked in the aircraft industry and had a managerial position as they built experimental aircraft. As he got older, and more tired, he had to work more hours than the normal 40-hours a week.
We would talk at times and he would consistently remind me of a simple rule that business owners earn more than the employees. This was an idea he would constantly remind me of and he kept asking me on what ideas I had for him, and I, to become business owners. I can still recall him sharing with me about this when I was in my mid-teens. Thanks to his constant words, he planted the idea, in me, that no matter what career I chose for myself, I should study it from a business owner's point of view.
I still recall my conversation with one of my business mentors when he told me how he started as a deckhand on a fishing ship that traveled to the Galapagos, in So. America, from San Pedro, in search of tuna. He started as a deck hand and ended his career being a partial ship owner. He started as a young man working the dirtiest jobs on the ship. Yet, during his first year, his focus was on figuring out how to eventually become a ship captain. I asked him what made him want to be a captain of a fishing ship? His response was, "Because they always made the most money on each trip!" Robert also shared that, "the Galapagos is on the Equator and it got hot on the deck. Meanwhile, the captain had a cooler running 24/7 in his area."
My father's advice always stayed with me and I think my one summer living near Fresno, when I was a teen, drove this lesson home for me.
I worked in the fields picking grapes for raisins. At that time, grapes were picked and placed on a sheet of paper and left in the sun to dry. Pickers were paid by the number of sheets that they laid out. I did this work more because I was bored out of my mind. Most of the workers around me were middle age and older.
I can still remember the farm owner driving up on his new air-conditioned pick-up. He got off and walked over to some adults. He practically screamed at them stating that they were not putting enough grapes on each sheet and he threatened not to pay them unless they would put more on each one. The pickers went back to work in that miserable heat and the owner drove off. It troubled me to learn that the pickers had been doing this type of job for many years and that this type of abuse from owners, and their field supervisors, was common. I kept wondering why the field workers would not consider eventually becoming the land owners.
I think being a worker is honorable and I also think being a business owner is an honorable career.
The father, up the street from where I live, just helped her 7-year old daughter, and a friend, put up a lemonade stand. It's common for people in my neighborhood to walk outside and take their dogs. These young ladies put out a water pail for the dogs and give them small treats. Their business did well in just that one afternoon.
It's never too early to teach our kids to be business owners.