I love kids. Certainly not in a Michael Jackson kind of way, but in the caring, kindly, grandfatherly kind of way.
My wife and I provide respite foster care as a way of paying back to the community. Every second weekend we provide some respite for permanent foster carers by taking their kids off their hands for a weekend so that they can recharge the batteries
Last week I had a brilliant young 9-year-old girl and her foster sister aged 7 staying with us. The 9-year-old is a highly intelligent enterprising young lady, and has a vast thirst for knowledge. As a kid in the foster care system, she is very well looked after, however there’s not a lot of room for the “extras” of life many of us take for granted.
When she found out what kind of work I perform for the community she asked about how to earn money. Over the next week she worked with me to create opportunities for herself. I spoke to her about “adding value” and concepts she had never heard before. We have a Chore Chart where they needed to perform some tasks in order to obtain their $5 weekly pocket money, but she wanted to create more value and create greater opportunities.
The first enterprise began when we were making cupcakes together. She decided that it was possible to sell them at school to her friends. Mindful of Food Handling Regulations I suggested that she do her research first. She developed own questionnaire to find out what flavour cupcakes her peers at school would like (chocolate was the big winner), and also did research to see if it was possible to do so. Naturally, she found that it was not possible to sell at school due to restrictions. Nevertheless, we still talked about how to account for costs and build in profits.
A telling comment she made was “I know they told me I can’t sell to the kids, but that doesn’t mean I can’t sell to the teachers!” There was an example of a young mind looking past the obvious, and seeking opportunity even after disappointment.
Spurred on by her school, she also decided that recycling was a good idea. She began following the instructions of the new recycling push to get her 10c per item. By the end of the week she had accumulated 42 items.
On the weekend she came up with the idea of offering to do jobs for people in the neighbourhood. Naturally, I supported her in the idea. I suggested to her that she needed to have a plan of the services she could offer, a price list and figure out what she wanted to say to people in order to attract them.
Within an hour she and her best friend had made their own little business, developed a business name, itemised a price list, and also had a marketing spiel!
I went with the girls and they knocked on 20 doors. They got responses from 8 people. 2 wanted jobs done immediately, and 2 had jobs set aside for the following weekend. After completing their tasks they came home with a gross of $36. They also collected a further $16 the following weekend.
I know this does not sound like much, however to a kid where $5 means a lot, to be able to stick $26 in her pocket for essentially 4 hours work was a massive lesson.
The big lessons that I gained from this exercise were:
- It’s never too young (or too old) to start doing something.
- Gaining knowledge does nothing until you apply action.
- There are opportunities everywhere. (Here is a kid who’s created 3 businesses in the space of a week).
- Good fortune follows people who are prepared and take action.
- If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
- A little bit of quality support makes a massive difference.
Too often as adults we make things far too complicated. There is always an excuse that we can find to “prevent” us from doing something. The simple truth is that the limits we set are all complete BS!
Sometimes all you may need is someone who believes in you, and is prepared to provide you with unconditional support. Assuming the answer is “No” before testing the question means that you will always stay where you are. This young girl found 4 people who said “No”, but most importantly found 4 people who said “Yes”!
If a 9-year-old can create 3 businesses in one week, WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?
If you want to talk about possibilities, unconditional support and proven expertise, give me a call!
M: 0417 723 434