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?