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Mom, Dad...I've Got a Proposal

We were siting at the dinner table eating the best of Thanksgiving leftovers.  My oldest is sitting across the table from me eating the remnants of the macaroni and cheese, when all of the sudden, he says, "Mom, Dad, you know I like money, right?"

"Yes son.", I say as I am thinking that this is already starting to be an interesting conversation.

"I was thinking that I could start a tea stand after church and sell the tea to everyone who is getting sick.", he says with a gleeming smile on his face.  I was right---this will be an interesting conversation.  My wife, P, and I are really not sure where this is going but he continues to explain his entire idea with careful thought and confidence.  He mentions how much he should sell each item for and how the money he raises could subsidize for his allowance. 

Now the conversation is getting intriguing for P and I.  So I ask, "Where and how will you get this tea?"

"Well, I was thinking that since we get it from New York, Ama Shirley can send it to us in the mail or by UPS or Fedex, daily. You pack it, we ship it!"

Stitches!!!  What in the world!  My wife and I are cracking up now.  I was thoroughly surprised at how much he had thought about this.

"Well son, do you want the stand by the concession stand or by the front doors where everyone enters and leaves?", I say, trying to provoke some more thoughtful responses.

"Hmmm, I need to think that one through, but maybe by the snack stand.", he says.  By this time, he stopped eating the macaroni.  He was all business!

"But the restroom is right beside it as well."

"Hmmm, I didn't think of that", he says with a pensive tone.

After asking some more probing and thought-provoking questions, I challenged him to write a detailed proposal by Friday.  P and I would look at it and give him some thoughtful feedback.  But I must say, we were both extremely proud.  My son was thinking like a businessman.  Tea stand today, owner of 75% of Dubai property tomorrow, or maybe SEC Chairman, or maybe AOL CEO, or maybe Wharton School of Business professor, or Secretary of the Treasury, or maybe...

Do you really think I am gonna let this one slide?  Best believe I am gonna ask him on Friday how this proposal is coming along.  This could potentially be college tuition! Any suggestions on how to continue to nurture this?  You know I am NOS...
(And no, I am not gonna put that much pressure on him this Friday-he's only 10; but on his next birthday is another story!)


  1. Dijon,
    You know I can't resist commenting on this. I am so excited for you and Kai and very impressed that he already has an entrepreneurial spirit. The website has some cute quick games for kids to play to teach them about making a profit etc. I was playing it this weekend with my 10 year old niece. We also played Cash Flow with her and it really helped her "get-it". It is so exciting to see young people take initiative. Final word... buy the tea and let him try it. The only way to learn is by doing it.

  2. I think this is a great thing! Its your teaching moment, and his learning experience. My suggestion (in having dealt with this in an AYD setting)...drop hints to him all week. Strategically pepper your conversation with ideas and avenues he may wanna think about...some people like honey in tea, while others use Splenda. How much does Starbucks charge for tea? How will you get the water hot, and do you have a power source.

    By dropping subtle hints, this makes him 'think' that he came up with the whole idea, but it also lets him know that you support him fully, and that you trust his decisions. In the end, he will appreciate that you let him do all of the work, and it will create great discussions for the pros and cons of doing it again.

    And let him know that the singers like green tea (no honey sweetners for Japan, but I'm more partial to peppermint, one splenda) Thanks!

  3. This is great and is the exact "coachable moment" I often talk about with our clients. Financial Literacy is best learned in the home, nutured by parents, when the timing is right. And he gave you all the "buying signals" that he is intersted in learning about money and developing his entrepeunorial skill-set.

    Let him take tiny steps and with each step he'll hit new challenges/opportunities that you can coach him along at. If you can, take him to the bank to set up a checking/savings account too. Tell the branch manager that you'd like to come in and have them show him around. They'd be glad to do it and the picture it will burn in his head will last a life time. Go, go, go! Stop reading this and get him out there!!!


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