There are a lot of articles about what values parents should instill in their children in order to help them achieve an entrepreneurial mindset. While most of this advice is sound, such as teaching your kids risk/reward, allowing them to learn from their failures, and modeling hard work, many of these are overarching parental philosophies that can ring hollow – they sound great, but exactly what does this mean on the ground?
Part of helping raise entrepreneurial kids is about instilling in them self-reliance and independence, including, the ability to learn on their own, get up when they fail, and the importance of hard work. However, this doesn’t mean that as a parent, our responsibility is to always just to say, ‘figure it out on your own; good luck.’ Especially at a younger age, walking alongside our children and using our experiences to guide them will help, more than hurt, their entrepreneurial mindset if done properly.
Sometimes, it’s good to hear about actionable, tangible measures we can take in order to help our children along, especially if we have a child that doesn’t seem to be proactively embracing these values. In tandem with encouraging entrepreneurial values, there are more concrete steps that parents can take to ensure their children have an open world full of possibilities that they know how to navigate and use to create value.
Here are a few steps that you can take to ensure your child will continue to grow their entrepreneurial abilities:
Encourage Them to Find a Mentor:
A mentor can provide advice and set a great example – while we would always agree that the example you set is paramount, it is always helpful to have a little backup from outside the family unit. You can play a critical role in helping them choose a good fit and, if possible, help set them up with someone that may be in your network. There is nothing wrong with helping introduce them to someone that may be able to give them advice and experience.
The most important part about helping your child find a mentor is giving them opportunities to meet many leaders in an area that interests them or people that inspire them. While they will surely encounter this on their own, such as a teacher or coach from their school, it is often beneficial to help them cast their net over a wider group of people. Every summer at JKCP we see students at our programs that find mentors and are able to stay connected with them. Whether these mentors are instructors at one of our camps programs, counselors, or even Residential Teaching Advisers, these are people that can help them about questions for college, give advice on business ideas, and guide students in new ways.
Let Them Connect with other Entrepreneurially-Inclined Children:
One amazing thing we get to see at JKCP every summer is watching students connect and form friendships and even create businesses together. It's a unique example, but it's one that anyone who has been to summer camp can relate to. Students come from across the globe to attend our specialty camps, with different backgrounds and languages, but the thing that connects them instantly are their passions. If your child is excited and motivated to start a business, imagine lighting that fire by surrounding them with students who are also passionate about the same things and even adding in some competition. At our Business Program, students work in groups, learn how to create business models, participate in Shark Tank style presentations and come out at the end of it feeling inspired to actually start that business. Even though it's a short amount of time, students leave inspired and stay in touch with their new friends for years and sometimes even decades.
Give Them Opportunities to Solve Problems and Use Their Creativity:
Maybe the biggest trademark of the entrepreneurial mindset is the gift of seeing a problem and learning to solve it. Sounds great. But how many challenging problems do students actually face? Good entrepreneurs will see problems all over in day to day life – they know that the best way to start a successful business is to solve the problems that impact the most people, thereby helping the most people. Sometimes these are problems the rest of us wouldn’t pick up on – some of our favorite and most popular apps are a result of this.
But training your mind to articulate and see a need is something that can take some work. And, solving the problem is typically harder. Helping put your kids in challenging new situations can help. Most people want their children to take the initiative with finding problems to solve, but you can also help them do this. While it may come naturally to some entrepreneurially inclined kids, they can learn from these types of challenges and tasks, especially if it is something they have an inherent interest in.
Help Them to Follow Their Passions
Depending on their passion, this might mean supporting them in various ways. However, helping them into a position to really explore their passion, such as at summer camp, an internship, or volunteer work, are great places to start. Getting good experience as a start can help mold the type of leader they aspire to be one day.
As a parent, your job is help give them opportunities – not to make sure the path is paved so that they succeed at everything they do. It’s okay to continue to remind them that if they are fortunate to receive these opportunities, they should be humble, grateful, and work hard to gather experience and do the best of their ability. However, there will be times that they face adversity and possibly even fall short – sometimes this is the best lesson they can learn. And there isn’t a darn thing wrong with helping them get the opportunity to learn this.
If you teach your children to be success-oriented and exemplify this attitude, the best thing you can do is get them out in the world to practice. The bigger the stage, the bigger the pressure, the greater the success.
Other Articles You Might Be Interested In:
- Benefits of Summer Business Programs for High School Students
- How Summer Learning Programs and the Pre-professional Title Give High Schoolers the Upper Hand
- How Pre-College Summer Programs Prep Students for the Next Step