When you attend a networking event, practising the ritual of business card swapping, do the following. Read on the business card what the other person does, then ask them if they teach their children what they do for a living. You will be amazed at the low amount of yesses you will get. Some evenings I don’t even get one single yes to my question. Why is this even important?
The value of a broadened perspective
What has happened to the role we play in our children’s education? Or have we abdicated that role completely to the school system. I have to admit, abdication is much easier and less effort. But let me ask you this, how has the school system served in your overall success?
In my 25 years of working I have never, ever been introduced at the watercooler to the guy who got 6 or 8 distinction in his final year in school.
School teaches children a standardized curriculum making sure your child has the basics to face the world. In a world that changes as fast as it does your child needs more than what everybody else is getting. Teaching your child what you do for a living will not only give them a fresh perspective but also a new skill they otherwise will never learn.
Teaching how to create abundance instead of fighting for scarcity
I am not coming from a competitive perspective, rather one in which we can truly empower children to be successful in this brave new world by instilling a creation perspective. More perspectives lead to more solutions to single problems, leading to multiple business solutions, adding to a growing economy. When we have been taught a similar perspective and method, we tend to solve world problems in similar ways and end up in a competitive spiral not necessarily growing and economy as it really can.
A missed opportunity
One evening I was talking to a national sales manager for a multinational company. To my amazement he has have never entertained the idea of teaching his children how to sell. I mean, sales is not everyone’s favorite, but if there is one thing I learnt is that it is probably one of the most important life skills. Apart from that, teaching kids from a young age to sell empowers them on so many levels. But for me the most important thing they learn through sales is financial independence. They can start a business with that skill. They can apply that skill in any situation, being without money anywhere in the world to selling themselves to get the best job offer.
The point I want to make applies to CEO’s, PA’s, technicians, all career paths and jobs. Teach your kids leadership, teach them HR, teach them managing massive amount of money. Whatever you do on a daily basis teach your kids just that.
Apart from empowering your children to be able to do more, you will also empower your relationship that you have with them. So few children really understand or have the ability to communicate what their parents do and thus they never talk about the thing their parents do 8 to 10 hours a day. Most children see the work that their parents do as the place that pisses them off. Or the place that sucks the life out of their parents.
This way your children develop an understanding on why you are stressed. Why you feel under pressure, or why you are happy and elated. I teach my children what I do, how I think and how I do business. Last year my 6 year old son told my wife what I did in one sentence, “Daddy teaches people to make more money”. He sees how I talk to people and clients. He listens to what I say and he sees how I do business.
My son started learning from my wife as well. She is a confectionary chef and my son loves to bake. The other night when I put him to bed he shared with me that he wants to become a baker. I asked why and he said the following: “Everyone in the world gets hungry, then they will come to be and buy food from me”.
Even at this young age my son started mixing and applying my and my wife’s teachings about work. Where will his thinking be in two or three years from now?
I am good at business and I am good at what I do. But I do not live under the illusion that I am the be all and end all of business thinking. So I expose my children to other people who are also not afraid to share their journeys, knowledge and experiences with my kids. Since my daughter was 13 I took her to my firewalking events that I do for big corporates and there she learns what drives people, interacts with different thinking people.
Please do not miss this opportunity to share your passions, your love, your frustrations and what you do for 8 hours per day with your children. You will make them stronger, better and more. You will have a closer relationship with them. Happy teaching!