Business 101 From an Eight-Year-Old

Hello, and welcome to Business 101. Today, I share a story from my lovely family. I am Mom, Dad is my husband, Big L is our eight-year-old son and first-born genius. There is also Little L, the three-year-old who hangs around the fringes of this story, and not to be forgotten, the girls (in between the bookend boys), JJ and JoJo.

Principle #1: Never Miss an Opportunity

Big L doesn’t like candy. He just never has. He’ll eat an occasional Smarty, and perhaps a Skittle every blue moon. Give him a piece of bread, oh, he loves bread, but the candy he’ll pass. There IS an exception. We had the annual Easter Egg Hunt at Aunt & Uncle’s house, and Big L was caught up in the wild excitement. He collected 43 eggs, all brightly colored and filled with candy.

The fact that candy is not one of his indulgences was no matter. Big L had a plan. Several days after Easter, he set up shop at our dining room table. He earned about $3.25 from his sisters who love candy, and were more than happy to buy his goods after they’d gobbled up their own baskets. “That will be 10 cents,” he’d say, eyeing the size of the candy. And “If you buy three, you get one free,” he would bargain. Even Mom and Dad bought some. (Some merchandise was eaten by Little L while he was “napping” one afternoon, else Big L would have earned much more.)

Principle #2: Fill a Need

This morning, Big L asked Dad a question: “Dad, what is something that every human needs?” I overheard the conversation, and thought perhaps Big L had a new joke, or a trick question. “I don’t know…why do you ask?” said Dad, not sure where the conversation was headed. “Well, I was thinking about inventing things, and figured I should make something that everyone would need, so they would buy it.”

Dad was amazed at the eight-year-old’s business sense! He has a business degree in marketing and management and can spot good business principles (though, honestly, such common sense does not come by degree). Being an entrepreneur himself, Dad was amused to see his son following in his footsteps. When Dad was not much older than Big L, he started a detective agency, a candy store, and a football league. These little adventures into industry were short lived and not exactly successful, but are great examples of a child’s business mind at work.

Dad had a string of other businesses in his young life, and continues to this day with new ideas. He encourages this inventiveness in his sons and daughters. He sat Big L down and told him all about patents and the role of the patent in American life as a protection and encouragement for new ideas – new ideas which have shaped America’s amazing progressions in science and medicine and agriculture and other areas.

Dad has promised Big L that if he comes up with a really useful and unique invention, he will help him obtain a patent. For real. Even eight-year-olds should be given the opportunity to be the next Thomas Edison.

p.s. Lest you think our girls are any less business savvy or industrious, they melted down all the chocolate purchased from their big brother, and attempted to sell it at a much higher price to Mom and Dad. You should have seen the smooth division of labor: JoJo did the purchasing (as she just had a birthday and was the one with more money), while JJ made up the recipe for “Roasted Chocolate” with a fancy recipe card and all, and kept driving up the price.

HomeEducationWeekIt’s Home Education Week over at Principled Discovery – check out the other great articles from home educators around the world.

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11 Responses to Business 101 From an Eight-Year-Old

  1. You all are much more business savvy than we are–maybe you can give my 10 year old would be business woman tips. I am clueless. :)

    BTW–the thermos came today–it is BEAUTIFUL and as you know I am not into that sort of thing. But I am very impressed with the workmanship.

  2. Kathleen says:

    With a mind that works like that, he is going places!!

  3. mrs darling says:

    They melted down the chocolate? Now those are real entreprenuers! You are blessed!

  4. Julie says:

    I appreciated the young inventor story. Sharp kid!

  5. e-Mom says:

    This story was really good! You’re wise to observe your kids’ natural gifts, and to foster them. Business is certainly a God-given natural gift (Rom 12:6-8.)

    It’s not surprising that Big L is like his Dad. We have several enterprising entrepreneurs in our family too. :~D

  6. Jen says:

    Heather, you are not in the least clueless! I’ve seen how your girls set up shop and run restaurants and such! Our families are similar in that we all work at home, including Dad. I think this naturally makes the kids more aware of “business” since it’s happening in their space on a daily basis.

    Kathleen, I agree! You sound like Dr. Seuss. :-)

    Mrs. Darling, yes, I smelled something funny coming from the kitchen…those girls are high in the “initiative” category.

    Julie, thank you. He’s read the story of Thomas Edison several times as well as seen a movie of his life, and inventors are definitely his “heroes.” He’s been naturally inclined this way since he was an infant. All children have natural God-given gifts, and as e-Mom pointed out, we should be on the lookout for them, so we can do our part as parents in fostering those gifts.

  7. Laurie says:

    Oh this is too funny!

  8. Brian & Becky says:

    This is so sweet. As I have heard from Brian, Little L is just like his Dad! Hope all is well.
    The Krist’s

  9. Jane says:

    This post made me smile- kids are great as they don’t talk themselves out of their ideas like we sometimes do. They have this belief that they can do anything! This post also reminded me that I promised my kids a lemonade stand this summer, as well as a garage sale at some point too.

  10. Jen says:

    Laurie, okay, which part was funny? The girls melting the chocolate really made me laugh. :-)

    Brian and Becky, Hi guys, so great to hear from you!! So, Brian saw a bit of my husband’s sweet tooth in his little son hiding away and eating candy? Not surprised, I have heard some stories!

    Jane, you’re right, we really need to retain that childlike attitude of “I can do anything!” My kids are dying to have a garage sale, too…I guess if I must. We did a juice stand a few weeks ago – I’ll have to post some pictures.

  11. grace says:

    Amazing how kids can get their parent’s traits. Great that your children are starting young with business awareness. For some people, that awareness takes forever to sink in. :-)

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