Teaching Our Kids About Business

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As a mom to a 17 year old son, I think a lot about how I can best prepare him for his adulthood. I’ve met plenty of kids who make huge mistakes with credit cards, depreciating assets (ie…doodads!) and wasted educations. So, how can I help him go bankrupt at 15, get the lesson, and avoid going bankrupt at 35? (Actually that was our saying two years ago. Now that he’s 17, it doesn’t work quite as well!)

This past week, David organized the last trip of the school year down to his old orphanage in Juarez, Mexico. He’s got a total of 25 people going. I think it’s 20 kids with 5 adults in 2 big vans and a 4 door pick up truck. The project this trip is….camping and fishing!

The charity, Thunder Mission, has a regular board with two adult advisors (Spanish teacher Shawna and me as co-Treasurer) and the rest are high school juniors and seniors. They have put on a music charity event, with them doing all the planning, ticket sales and coordination. They have written for grants. They have regular meetings and this past week, David and the Vice-President Jarred went to business to negotiate and explain about the charity to get the best deals possible on the camping and fishing equipment.

I thought about the lessons these kids are learning: budgeting, meetings, team work, leadership, negotiating, coordination, logistics, and they are doing it in two languages! Because it’s a charity that they care deeply about, they have a deep passion for the project. The teens gravitate naturally to roles that highlight their innate skills and abilities. Natalie is a born organizer and she shone as the coordinator for the charity event. David is a born salesman, so anything that requires “selling” the charity and it’s idea, as well as negotiating – he’s there. Tyler is one of the best Treasurers I’ve ever seen. Megan is a brilliant President, delegating out projects and keeping involved just as much as needed to let others try out their own ideas. And Jarred, as VP, is a jack of all trades, just doing what it takes to get it done. I wonder how they will look back at this time. I hope they look back with pride, knowing that they did what a lot of adults couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do.

I’m proud of them all. And with kids like these, I don’t worry about the future a bit.

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