“Mom… Mom…. Mom… Mom…. MOM! I need Lego set 21118.” My six-year old (little I) shouts from his room. “It’s the Minecraft cave set and it looks awesome!”
As I pop over to his room, I see him poured over a Lego brochure – totally enthralled over the biggest, most awesome Minecraft Lego set.
“Okay,” I say. “How much is it?”
“I don’t know.” Says little I.
“Let’s find out,” I say. [Quick google search.] “It’s $100.”
“Will you buy it for me?” Begs little I.
“No,” I reply. “But you can buy it for yourself. How much money do you have saved?”
Little I had some money saved (about $40) but not enough for the Lego set – and not enough to buy the set and have money left over. So, what’s a boy to do?
“How about I sell stuff to make money?”
In theory, I love this idea.
My little entrepreneur selling items he no longer needs, or items he’s created, to make his own spending money.
So, why did I get that tingly feeling in the back of my head telling him to stop?
After all, I know he’s been successful at these ventures before.
About a year ago he had a similar idea. He sold his drawings to our neighbor who, very kindly, bought two custom drawings from him for $10.
So, why the discomfort?
Is it because I cringe at the idea of standing on the corner with him selling overpriced items? Is it because I would rather be cooking dinner or getting some work done instead?
Or, is it because I am trying to protect him from something I think will not work?
Is it because I am afraid he will fail?
So, back to the story. What did little I want to sell? Easter cards.
Good timing, I thought. It was Easter weekend. And, we had just made similar cards for family members. But, couldn’t he sell them online? Did we really have to go sit out on the street? Yes, he said. That is what he wanted to do…
Okay, my little entrepreneur. Let’s do this.
He made a sign. He practiced his pitch.
How much did he want to sell them for? Originally $20 each. Then, after a quick discussion of supply and demand, he reduced them to $2. (I know, I know… I’m up for letting him fail, but a little education can help as well…).
The result? He sold the two cards he made for $5 to a neighbor in about 10 minutes!
Of course, the $5 he made was only a fraction of what he needed for the Minecraft Lego set, but now he had the confidence to make his own spending money. He understood the value of hard work. And, he now had grand plans of how to earn the rest of the money.
The lesson is: we need to let our kids try and fail
Because, just perhaps, the reason we do not want to let them try is because we are afraid they will fail. But maybe, they will not fail. Just maybe, they will be a big success.
“The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves.” ~ Roald Dahl
What do you think? Have your kids succeeded big when you thought they would fail?