Lead by Example

I am many things on a daily basis, like all of us here. At any given moment I’m wearing my hat as a mother, teacher, writer, business woman, friend, wife, public servant, what have you. It’s exhausting, of course, but then life should be for the most part.

What’s the point of waking up in the morning and not using the day to its fullest potential? I say that knowing full well I’m going to finish up here in a bit and go and turn on HGTV for some well-deserved downtime, but even entertainment can be educational and beneficial – I learn a lot on Design Star. Really!

But back to the hats of a working mother. I’m rather proud of all that I’ve accomplished in my respective roles thus far, and I love nothing more than seeing the benefits of what I do starting to manifest in my children. This was exactly the case today, and it was such a glorious WAHM moment, I just have to share.

The boys (I have two) and I were driving across this great city to go and collect a Craigslist chandelier to repurpose (See? I learn a lot on HGTV!). On the way, the boys were having a great conversation about what they want to do when they grow up.

Considering they are six and four, this is especially insightful to Mom listening in the front seat. The boys finally decided that they were going to make the next Transformers ™ movie and design the game as well. They also wanted to make lots of new “spiky” Transformer ™ toys.

They were so excited, my boys spent the better part of thirty minutes planning out the roles they would take – one would be the movie maker and one would be the game designer, but then we had a moment of puzzled silence.

My oldest asked me, “Mom – what if I go to work as a game designer and they want me to make a different game instead of my Transformers™ game?”

He was on the verge of creative collapse and possibly tears over a dream lost early in development, so I immediately administered the best kind of entrepreneurial lesson this working mom could – I told him he could do both.

He didn’t get it right away.

I reminded him that I did two jobs – I taught during the day and I worked on the computer at night. I do both jobs because I like to do the jobs and they are fun for me.  And he could do the same.

Suddenly a whole new world opened up for him and the frantic planning resumed in the backseat.–The eldest proudly announced that instead of being  just a game designer, he was going to be a movie maker and a game designer since he could do two jobs like Mom.

The child is six, already planning on working two careers that are rather self sufficient and creative. Just think of how much I can teach him – and you can teach your children – in the years to come.

It’s a rare universe inhabited by the self-employed and entrepreneurs, and often the families of those working these exciting careers are living there, too. I’m proud to welcome my soon-to-be first grader to the mix. Look out world – you won’t find this guy content in a cube someday!

(Although as his mother, I have to say that he winds up being brilliant in a cube, laying pipe, cutting hair or digging ditches, that’s outstanding, too. Hopefully the lessons he’s learned about being self sufficient, proud, capable and dependable will stay with him regardless of future career journeys.)

Three cheers for entrepreneurial parents everywhere!

Do you hope your child will catch your spirit of adventure and self-sufficiency? What’s the most important lesson self-employed parents should be teaching their children?

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Rebecca is a full-time everything. She teaches English and reading to her much loved, if challenging, high school students during the day and is a freelance education writer in the evenings. With almost ten years in the classroom and advanced degrees in business and information science, Rebecca specializes in materials that inform, educate and entertain. Rebecca indulges herself by pretending to have spare time and writing about the ups and downs of being a freelancing mama whenever she gets a chance.

2 thoughts on “Lead by Example”

  1. I remember complaining to my dad in the first year of my first job in “the real world,” and he simply informed me, in his gruff, unsympathetic way, that I was eventually going to have to work for myself. He was an independent traveling salesman from whom I credit receiving the entrepreneurial gene. He had great years and disastrous years, but I never once heard him wish that he was in an office or working for someone else. I know there were times that worried the hell out of my mom, whose family was filled with business executives with long careers at the same companies, but he didn’t care.

    We’re raising our kids to be independent, and they recognize that self-employment is a bit of a high-wire act — but it’s all they’ve ever known me to do, since I quit my last corporate job when they were 2 and 3. (My wife, in contrast, started working for a Fortune 500 company once they were both in elementary school.)

    I’m not sure if either or both of them will follow in my footsteps…I’d like to think the most important thing I do is set an example in how to handle and work with people. Particularly during summer break, they hear me on the phone with all sorts of clients, selling, solving problems, creating rapport, etc.

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  2. I enjoyed this post. I too am attempting to raise entrepreneurs. Both of my children know that I strongly prefer self-employment to working for someone else and hope that’s the route they’ll follow.

    I wasn’t sure though if my message was getting through until this summer when my son, age 19, surprised me by starting and succeeding in his own small business. Best of all, I could tell he loved it. I wrote a post about his business here, if you are interested, https://www.susangreenecopywriter.com/articles/summer-of-legos.html

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