The other day I was reading a fascinating story about a young boy that has written his first book, has created a super hero character and has an app and a game for this character.
No, let’s take that again. Meet Ethan, a 6 year old boy, from a country in Africa. He began his interest in creating the super hero character when he was only 5! He has an animated book about it, is the proud owner of an application called Ethanman and a computer game to boot!
So What’s So Special About This, You Ask?
This is a boy who had a curious mind and an assertive spirit. Just like any other two year old, he loved tech gadgets and was particularly interested in getting a phone. His parents wouldn’t hear any of it and by age 5, they insisted that he had to write a book first, in order to get one!
He also told his parents that that he wasn’t interested in good old superman and company. They had what he termed ‘fake’ super powers! He wanted to create a realistic superhero who was capable of doing things that he and other kids could. He also wanted to take on the book challenge by writing an animated book about it.
Now, his parents didn’t allow this to slide and they went ahead and looked for companies and organizations that could help him start working on his dream, at age 5!!
What Does This Have to do With Parenting?
Now, the debate about whether entrepreneurship is inherent or administered through learning may never reach a conclusion. However, one thing always remains clear, potential needs to be identified and unlocked early.
With nurturing of children’s talent, there has always been the question of how far is too far. Some researchers feel that in the pursuit of fostering a child’s gifts, the process can be over stretched and cause distress to all the parties.
At the same time, totally leaving children out to figure out their interests is one of the major causes of identity crisis that’s happening to young professionals and older folk alike.
When it comes to kids and business, the greatest challenge has been the thought that entrepreneurs are only those kids that are interested in selling and buying stuff. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
If we could borrow from Ethan’s story, he didn’t want to sell anything, it absolutely wasn’t about making money. He had a need that he felt was unfulfilled by conventional children’s toys and he wanted to search for answers.
In the process, he wanted to help other children that were in the same dilemma as he was.
His parents played the major role of taking this up and blowing it into what it is today. They looked for people and organizations that could help their child achieve his dream, age notwithstanding.
How Parents Can Develop Entrepreneurship in Their Children
We shall borrow a few lessons from our little Ethan’s family and see how we can use ordinary situations to master this skill.
Give challenges : Just like grown-ups, the minute a child doesn’t experience some challenge in life, they don’t exploit their potential. Instead of Ethan getting a phone as he had asked, the parents promised to give it when he accomplished a huge goal-writing a book. This not only aroused his passion for this book, but it sparked curiosity and brought with it the challenge of achieving all his other goals.
Identify their passion : This little boy loved tech gadgets, not balls or brick games. That’s what excited him, that’s what he was bought. Many would want to talk their child into balancing their lives with some outdoor games, but this could be counter- productive. With this case, Ethan ended up working on his passion so much that, he’ll be outdoors a lot, inspiring other kids to nurture their talents, follow their dreams and of course buy his game and book!
Enlist expert resources : Ethan’s parents weren’t coders, nor did they know how to write an animated book but they understood that some people out there do. No parent knows everything. Your child may have interests in something that you have absolutely no knowledge of. Don’t be shy to ask. Seek help from experts.
Age is only a number: The challenge given to this little boy would have seemed insurmountable. The support he was asking of his parents seemed unrealistic. We have however seen that even at age 2, a child already has interests that shouldn’t be ignored.
Work first, money later– Like I mentioned earlier, this had nothing to do with money. A lot of hard work was put into these ventures before any tangible benefit could be realized. This means that any child can make an entrepreneur if they first worked well enough on their projects. Eventually whatever these are, they can gain interest from people who would be willing to pay for them.
I hope that among your greatest take homes from this story is that business skills aren’t reserved for a special few.
As a parent, the power is in your hands and you can turn your child, irrespective of what their interests are, into the next inspirational entrepreneur.