Dads, sorry we doubted you, but keep it up! We’ve got a future generation of world-changing entrepreneurs to raise.
As a mother, I sometimes catch myself inwardly cringing while watching my husband and son interact. Sometimes, my husband’s parenting style seems so haphazard (better known as…not the way I would ever do it!). There’s very little structure and nothing is ever by “the book” or “the plan.” Basically, it is the polar opposite of my parenting style as a mother. But then as I take a step back, the entrepreneur in me sees some method to what the mother in me sees as complete madness. Actually, I’ve come to appreciate the balance my husband brings to parenting our little guy.
In a house with two entrepreneurs, my son is bound to pick up a few tips on navigating entrepreneurship successfully. Things like marketing strategies and profit and loss statements are normal discussions in our house. But, I have also come to realize that possibly THE MOST IMPORTANT lessons my husband (and dads in general) teach their kids are more about dealing with life (and entrepreneurship) successfully. They are more of what I like to call the soft skills that aren’t quite tangible, but oh-so-important. So moms, if you are reading this… hear (or read) me out on this. (Trust me… I am still one of you!)
Here are three ways that dads are encouraging a future generation of entrepreneurs by just being dads:
#1 ROUGH HOUSING
Rough housing is huge in my house. In fact, my son would probably tell you it is his very favorite thing to do… even above Legos and Star Wars! On the surface, rough housing looks like just two kids (one is much bigger than the other) having fun, but through this form of play, your child is learning a few extremely valuable lessons every entrepreneur has to learn. Lessons like hustle and grit that are tough to teach, but come through easily during rough housing.
Learning to think on your feet, to attack a problem (in this case—dad) is also a key skill that helps everyone in life, not just entrepreneurs. Sadly, thinking on your feet isn’t always something that is learned leaving kids frozen in a time where action isn’t just needed, but necessary. However, the most important skill learned during rough housing is that when times get tough, you can’t going crying to mommy. That’s right, I said it! Our kids have to learn to take care of themselves, and there is no better time to learn that than when playing around with dad.
#2 PANTRY SURPRISE
Remember that night, when mom is out of town or working late unexpectedly and all of a sudden, dad is put on the spot to make dinner? Let’s be honest, dinner is probably going to be boxed mac-n-cheese and maybe if they are lucky, they can score some hotdogs (nitrate-free, of course) to cut up and mix in from the fridge. Again, this is where learning to think on your feet is crucial. Otherwise, everyone would go hungry on nights like this!
But there is another really important lesson learned here… working with what you’ve got. Things are not always going to go as planned. There will be bumps in the road. You are not always going to have the perfect, nutritionally balanced meal that has every color of the rainbow represented on your plate. You are going to have to work with what you’ve got right in front of you. You’re going to have to bootstrap it. And guess what? It’s ok. Learning to deal with the minor surprises in life makes it easier to take on the bigger ones down the road.
#3 KICK THE “EXPERTS” TO THE CURB
Dads, in general, tend to be more likely to trust their gut when it comes to parenting than moms. Now, I know this isn’t always the case. As a recovering strict rule follower, I can admit that throwing the rules out the window can be fun… at times! But what dads are showing their kids is that sometimes the “experts” aren’t always right about. Sometimes, we’ve got to not only listen to our intuition, but we have to follow it. Is our intuition always going to make logical sense?
No, definitely not. But our gut instincts (or whatever you want to call it) are there for a reason, and we should listen to them more. Dads tend to be particularly good at tuning out the “experts” and tuning into their instincts. As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to know how to listen to your gut. You’ve got to know when you need to break away from the pack and carve out your path. Listening to the experts can only get you so far, but instinct can get you where you want to go.
These are only three examples of how dad’s parenting style encourage entrepreneurship skills in their kids. When you step back and look, there are many, many more. So moms…take a deep breath and watch dad work his entrepreneurial skill-teaching magic. And dads… sorry we doubted you, but keep it up! We’ve got a future generation of world-changing entrepreneurs to raise.
Photo: Flickr/ Lotus Carroll