“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a question we ask kids all the time. At a young age, their answers are all over the place: an astronaut, a professional wrestler, a unicorn. But when kids get older, they become a little more realistic. And while every parent wants his or her kids to do what makes them happy, a lot of us would like our kids to follow in our own footsteps, too.
This is especially true for entrepreneurs. Many of us have worked our way up from nothing to become successful. But passing that drive on to our kids can be a different kind of struggle. I’m not going to pretend that I have all the answers, but in the last 17 years of being a father, I’ve learned enough lessons — and made enough mistakes — to pass on.
Show Them The Value Of Sweat
I grew up in a blue-collar family. My parents worked their fingers to the bone just to pay the bills. I wanted to give my kids more. After years of working my tail off, I was able to do just that. They took the best vacations, went to the best private schools, ate the best food and wore the best clothes. Then, one day, I realized I had raised a couple of spoiled rich kids
I could appreciate how much we had because I knew how it felt to go without. But wealth is all my kids knew. They felt entitled to it. As a parent, it’s hard to resist giving your kids the world on a silver platter. But if you want them to appreciate what they have, you have to temper your generosity.
I don’t let my kids get away with being lazy. If they keep up their grades and play sports or do clubs, they get an allowance. If not, the rules change. Last year, my son quit the basketball team. So, I made him come into my office to earn some money on his own. I threw him into the bullpen and had him make sales calls. He might have been unhappy at first, but it didn’t take long for him to catch on. And when he closed his first sale, he caught that sense of accomplishment. Now, he’s a sales partner
Lead By Example
Our kids learn by watching us. And if I were to keep my work and family life separate, they might get the idea that our money and my hard work aren’t related, like the money just showed up on its own. I’ve been very intentional in not hiding my work from my kids. I’ve brought them into the office and made calls from home. I’ve even handled business while we were on the beach in the Caribbean. Because that’s the price of success. I don’t know a single business owner who doesn’t work on vacation. That’s what being an entrepreneur costs.