Appreciating Entrepreneurial Spirit

Earlier this summer my sister and her family moved from the East coast to the west coast.  When I called them last week my nephew, age eight, answered the phone. I hadn’t heard his voice in several days and it felt great to talk to him.

Nephew: “When are you coming out to visit?”

Me: “End of September.”

Nephew: “Ok, do you want to sleep on the top bunk or bottom bunk?”

I think, Oh he wants me to sleep in his room with him while I’m there. I love it!

Me: “I’ll sleep in whichever bunk you’re not sleeping in.  Either is fine with me.”

Nephew: “Well, it’s $2 a night for the top bunk and $1 a night for the bottom bunk.”

Me: “Wait, I don’t make you pay me when you sleep over my house. What’s up with this?”

Nephew: “I want a laptop and need to make some money!”

Eventually he passed the phone on to his mother.  That’s when I learned how serious he is about making money for a new laptop.

Evidently he keeps a notebook by his bedside to “take reservations.”  “I thought you’d appreciate his entrepreneurial spirit,” my sister said.

How could I not? I admired his creativity and his confidence.  I didn’t have much of either at his age. And how about that pricing structure!  Clearly he understands the meaning of value (at least for an 8 year old). I know that to discourage him today could have negative consequences in the future.

Perhaps you’ve read the same stories I have:  successful people who refuse to listen to the naysayers and continue on with their ideas often experience great success. If this is how he thinks today, imagine what great things he might be capable of in the future.

The next day I called him to make my reservation.  As it turns out the top bunk is taken, by him.  It’s more fun up there, he confided. At eight years old, money is important but fun still trumps all.

In the end, one ticket to California: 25, 000 frequent flyer miles.  7 night stay on the bottom bunk:  $7.  Appreciating, admiring and encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of an 8 year old:  priceless.

And that feels good.

Kids at any age are under a tremendous amount of stress.  Encouraging creativity in thought and action is necessary to raise a generation of confident adults.  These are the leaders of tomorrow.

If there is a child in your family or circle of close friends who shows an entrepreneurial spirit how do you respond?  What you say today could have a huge impact on how he/she acts in the future.  How will you support their endeavors?

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  • Evita

    Hi Stacey

    Oh wow, this was an awesome story! You have a great little guy in your life, and my favorite part was the “In the end….priceless.” part.

    • Stacey Shipman

      Hi Evita – He is special (as is my niece!) and I just thought this story was so brilliant!

  • Theresa Bradley-Banta

    Oh Stacey, I just loved your story! And, I do like his priorities :) Fun still trumps all. It’s wonderful you are encouraging his creativity. And, your sister sounds pretty great too!

    • Stacey Shipman

      Hi Theresa – Thanks for your comment. They are great and I look forward to helping him achieve his dream, rather, laptop!

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  • Annette Macaudda

    I have two little grandsons and I so agree with your sister, it’s important to teach them the value of worth and earning money for what they want. I enjoy watching my daughter teach my grandsons the value of not just a dollar but the value of life. You must so enjoy watching this little boy develop. He has your genes and will no doubt succeed! It will be interesting to see what he accomplishes with this laptop, Bill Gates, move over!

    • Stacey Shipman

      Hi Annette, Thank you. I agree, it is so important to teach them at a young age. I didn’t get that and I promised to teach the younger generation in my family to go for it! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  • Lance

    Hey Stacey,
    The budding entrepreneur!! (…and with a really cool focus on FUN!!)

    Here’s my suggestion for your visit west: Offer a bribe – one night in the top bunk in exchange for an ice cream cone at the local ice cream stand (hmmm…perhaps I have a thing for ice cream…I’d go for it…)

    Great photo of you two!!!

    • Stacey Shipman

      Lance – Please! He got a lot of money for his birthday just before they left and I said “save some so you can buy me a pizza”…he said “no way!” Not sure I’ll get an ice cream, but worth a try, right? :-)

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