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5 Ways to Nurture Entrepreneurial Spirit in Our Kids

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5 Ways to Nurture Entrepreneurial Spirit in Our Kids

Being an entrepreneur is the ultimate career test.  It challenges me in a way that corporate life could never match. It’s a rollercoaster of a ride but one I love. As a mum of three kids, I would be delighted if one of my kids chose to embark on an entrepreneurial pursuit.  As a parent, I am very conscious that I have a responsibility to assist in growing the next generation of business leaders.

I’d love to share three things I’m doing to nurture my kids entrepreneurial spirit.

1. I encourage them to Dream Big

Over the past twelve months I’ve seen something wonderful happen.  One of my children have discovered their passion.  Something that makes their heart sing.  I have watched my 11 year old transform and develop a really big dream to play elite Basketball.  He has become highly focused; he skips off to his basketball training sessions, and returns telling me he wants to do more.

He lifts weights in his room at night and spends hours out of the front of the house shooting baskets.  His relaxation time is spent playing simulated basketball with this basketball heroes visualising himself on the court.

This new big vision has seen my son grow in confidence and it has had a great flow on effect for his schoolwork.  I’ve put these changes down to the fact that my son has found his passion and he has started dreaming of a much bigger life for himself.  I think as parents our role is to help them uncover their passions and help our kids create really big visions for their lives.

I’m an avid consumer of business media and this year I’ve read about the importance of the language we use with our kids. At home we talk not about what kind of job they want to do but about what problems they want to solve.  It has really changed the conversation and uncovered their real interests. There is not an assumption that they will go and work for someone else but we talk more about how they plan to contribute to the world.

2. I Teach them about Opportunity Cost

A year or so ago Helen Wellings from Channel 7 did a story about my son and his love of saving. He explained to Helen that he liked to pick up odd jobs (like filing in my office) because when he was older he was going to buy a lime green Ferrari.  Unlike his two siblings he has a highly developed understanding of Opportunity Cost; that by choosing to spend his money today will mean it is unlikely he will be able to afford his lime green Ferrari.

As a parent I think we can introduce opportunity cost on a daily basis. I often involve the kids in spending decisions or how they wish to spend their free time.  By actively involving them they are exposed to the complexities of some decisions and understand that they are responsible for the choices they make.

3. I help them Welcome failure

I recently read online about an entrepreneur’s parents and his frequent questions over dinner of his kids was asking them what they failed at.  His belief being that if kids weren’t failing at something they weren’t learning. She spoke about almost feeling like they were in trouble if she hadn’t failed at something. Her father was less interested in her achievements and far more about mistakes.

It is something that has really resonated with me and I have changed the way I talk to my kids.  We talk about challenges, mistakes and failures in a positive way as often as possible. I believe welcoming failure will build learning and resilience to our next generation. They will need bucket loads of it as an entrepreneur to travel the rollercoaster of business life.

 

I’m very conscious that I have a responsibility to nurture the next generation of leaders. I believe we all have a part to play in developing their thinking. These are a couple of my strategies I’m using but I’d love to hear about what you do to nurture our future leaders and change makers. What strategies do you use?

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Showing 5 comments
  • Fiona Johnson
    Reply

    Loved this article and hope to start a conversation on dreaming big and how opportunities are made through simple daily decisions. Thanks Katrina!

  • Rosemary
    Reply

    Great tips. The second one, about giving children the opportunity to consider opportunity costs, really resonates (and made me realise that that filing I’ve been wanting to get someone to do for a while would be quite possible for my year 1 son to do….)
    My example?
    My son wanted a particular $80 chair at Ikea. I discussed how much money that was with him, and in the end we bought it. But I really wanted him to UNDERSTAND what that money meant. So the next day I did an $80 grocery shop. I laid all the groceries out on the table and showed him what we could buy for $80 and that we don’t always have both sets of $80 available at the same time. The lesson stuck.

  • Katrina McCarter
    Reply

    Hi Rosemary thanks for your comments. I really think Opportunity cost is a massive one for them to learn. I always like to get them to make the decision and then make them take responsibility for that decision.

  • Deb
    Reply

    Loved this article Katrina, I think what you are doing with your children is wonderful, what a fabulous mindset to learn at such an early age. I believe that the more mistakes we make as kids the more resilient and determined we are as adults 🙂

    • Katrina McCarter
      Reply

      Hi Deb, I agree with you. I’ve looked at struggling adults and I can see that they were never allowed to fail as kids. I want my kids to fail often in a safe environment so they can learn and build resilience.

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