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Reflections of a 40-Something Dad

Every year on my birthday I like to take a step back to reflect on life’s happenings.  This year, however, I’m going to switch it up a bit.  Since the Shafer…Power! blog was launched exactly one month ago today, I’d like to reflect out loud – on paper, at least – about my children’s future as it pertains to our entrepreneurial journey.  Stick with me kids – I assure you this will be fun and informative. 

My thoughts as follows:

  1. Children have a bottomless cup of energy.  This is especially true when introducing them to new things.  When I initially conjured up the idea of a hosting a thrift sale (followed by a coffee stand a few weeks later) they nearly ran me over to get started.  I think it’s critical that we help channel this energy.
  2. They also have an extraordinary sense of curiosity.  One of the things I like to do with them is watch YouTube video about how things are made.  For example, last evening we watched a 5 minute clip on the commercial production of ice cream sandwiches.  As I watched the children view the video, I noticed they were absolutely consumed by what they were seeing and hearing.  Just near the end a man stated, “the machine makes 120 ice cream sandwiches per minute.”  Owen couldn’t help but smile.
  3. I find that I value simplicity versus overexposure.  Although I’ve sometimes wished my parents had introduced me to more interesting things as a child (food, art, business) there is something beautiful about keeping life simple.  I know it’s easy to want the most for our children, but have you ever sat back and really watched them play?  Our little girl set up shop on the patio last night and made “homemade” soup from chocolate sauce, limes, orange juice and spices.  She seemed to be having the time of her life.  I think enabling creativity in children – especially at this age – is just as important as them sitting in a classroom or participating in a slew of extracurricular activities.
  4. I think the changes in the world today are happening much more quickly than they will at any point in the near future.  It’s official.  I’m old.  I’m pretty sure every aging person thinks the world is changing too quickly.  But I’m sensing significant changes in virtually every industry across the globe.  I think a deeper analysis of this statement would put us all to sleep but I can’t help but ask myself, “what sort of challenges and opportunities will this present for our children?”
  5. Nothing beats an all-encompassing hug.  I realize this has nothing to do with entrepreneurism but you just can’t beat a big hug from the kids.  In fact, I’m going to get me some now!

Next: A Chocolate Making Family’s Journey of Entrepreneurism

Previous: Jesterbucks = Success

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. John #

    Good post! Another interesting characteristic I have noticed is that my kids are very quick to see opportunities for things that they want… that don’t exist. Recently that showed up when my 5-year-old son asked me to “call the company and ask them to build a Lego SpiderMan game for Wii.” Building that one might be a little ambitious for us to do, but do you have any thoughts on channeling that type of insight into something more attainable for kids? (or can you at least tell me when I can buy a Lego SpiderMan Wii game??)

    May 2, 2012
    • Thanks John for the comment and question. For starters, I might help him contact the company to submit his request. Who knows where it might take him. (Maybe they’ll send him a free game or ask him to join a product advisory council.) As for channeling the insight, I’ve recently provided our kids with journals to start drawing pictures and writing down ideas. Perhaps this is something they would enjoy. Good luck. Keep us posted!

      May 3, 2012
  2. Dave S #

    Excellent insight Paul. I often overlook the simple, yet powerful things you mention about the energy and creativity our children exhibit, which we, as parents really need to embrace and harness to help them with their development. Funny thing is, we can learn many things ourselves during the process.

    May 2, 2012
    • Agreed. It’s amazing what they come up and I also find their perspectives to be refreshing.

      May 3, 2012
  3. Andrea #

    Amen!!!! Paul: you have summarized so well. In a complex and dynamic world like the one we love in , the focus on simplify , creative energy and love are capabilities we all need to accomplish. Message for the grown ups .. Don’t lose your inner kid.

    Cheers

    Andi

    May 2, 2012
  4. Andrea #

    Correction :*the world we live in ” 🙂

    May 2, 2012
    • Dave S #

      Andrea, I like the love in answer even better.

      May 3, 2012
  5. Wanda S. #

    You brought up a lot of interesting topics on raising creative children. My daughter also is very imaginative in the kitchen when making her own special side dishes, which may include crushed saltines and minature marshmellows with parmesan sprinkled on top. Yummy! She’ll place her mixture on the table and to be sure we eat her creation she scoops some onto each of our plates. Smart girl.
    Although she does make a bit of a mess in the kitchen when being creative with her food, I believe it is very important to let her feel inspired to be inventive in the kitchen with me and include her without discouraging her. When tasting her wonderful blend, we let her know how much we enjoyed her side dish and thank her for making it.
    No matter how busy life gets, it’s important to place focus on your children and embrace their creativity.

    May 3, 2012
    • Thank you for the comment Wanda. Is she a bustling young chef, perhaps? Has she considered packaging these treats and selling them to (unsuspecting) neighbors?

      May 3, 2012
  6. sheryl #

    simplicity wins every time. last night, for example, we had dinner at a nice restaurant and when I asked for the dessert menu our waiter told us they didn’t have one because they only offered three choices: vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream and death by double chocolate. can you guess which one I selected? I like businesses that make things simple or keep things simple. g’night!

    May 3, 2012

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