Teaching Children To Look Towards A Self Employed Future
Posted on February 15, 2014
The dream of every parent is to wake up one morning proud of a socially and financially successful child. Parents the world over trudge through life looking to achieve this onerous aim. School fees, medical bills, extra curricular activities dues, grocery bills etc are the nightmarish routes most parents trot in their pursuit of that dream. Anyone who has ever watched the movie The Pursuit of Happyness starring Hollywood heartthrob Will Smith will readily capture the still picture of what I am talking about here in their minds.
Despite the hellish escapades encountered daily by Smith's character in that movie, it never for once occurred to him to remove his son's daily school runs from the equation. It didn't matter where he and his little son woke up in the morning ( a charity home, a park bench or a subway station toilet ) that boy still got dropped off in school by his dad. That is how determined all responsible parents are , irrespective of their economic realities, to see that they give their children a chance at a successful life in the future.
Unlike parents in the developed world however, parents in Africa, most especially Nigeria, are yet to come to grips with the throbbing realities of the new world. The idea that all a child needs to succeed in the world is an academic qualification has done nothing but encourage the churning out of millions of highly qualified paper graduates yearly who end up frustrated and jobless despite being told early on that being paper qualified is the key to financial freedom.
The realities of the modern world have since changed. In developed countries, there is the fear that in the not so distant future, computers will replace most skilled workers in factories and spit up more jobless people into the streets. The professional workers are not spared also as computers are taking over their own jobs as well. Micro chips and mini robots are being produced which can take over the roles of diagnostic specialists and doctors in the hope of reducing people's reliance on walking, breathing doctors.
Over reliance on paper qualification is a rut the Nigerian parent has been stuck in for decades and it is time to make a move towards coming unstuck and changing that mindset. By all means aim for your sons and daughters to be brain surgeons and rocket pilots but also open up windows of opportunities through which they can escape IF yours and their plans encounter hitches. Teach them the beauty of self employment, dignity in labour and diversification. Let them know that most of the world's most financially free people got there through that small window.
Northern Nigeria for example is built on a large expanse of highly fertile land inhabiting tens of millions of families with so many mouths to feed that it is nearly impossible to have too many farmers there nor too many tailors or too many bakers or too many fura makers. Every vocation can be turned into a financial venture and every seemingly "uncool" job can be turned on its head using the mechanics of modernity. Fura making used to be the exclusive enterprise of poor Fulani women using gourd calabashes and mixing spoons until some forward thinking innovators decided it could be done with a high speed electric blender in a modern kitchen using such flavourings as Vanilla extract to give its taste a modern twist.
In defence of people from the southern part of Nigeria, they have already gone way ahead of their Northern counterparts in that realisation. Realising that there are so many full time working mothers who hardly find time to cook, some fast thinkers in Lagos have gone ahead to start making frozen packaged soups of all kinds, egusi, okra, stew, ogbono etc , which these late working mothers gratefully rush to buy not minding the prize tags. Opportunistic innovation ( read that with a positive eye) in business is where the world is headed and its time for the Northern parent to embrace it.
Start early and start now. If you have a small space in your house, why not construct a chicken coop and buy a few egg layers, say 10 for example, and give your 10year old as a birthday gift. Tell the child he/ she is responsible for the chickens and tell them to aim to double the number of chickens each year. Encourage them to clean the coop, feed the chickens and mind their welfare. Endeavour to buy the feed and when the eggs start coming, get a money box and encourage the child to save the proceeds from the sale of the eggs. By simple mathematics, ten chickens will lay 30eggs in 3 days which makes up a crate. A crate of eggs goes for about N750. In one month, your child will be N7500 richer. I am no expert but I doubt that ten chickens will consume more than N3500 worth of feed monthly which will give your child a profit of N4000 a month.
Now when you divide that by 12 months, that is some cool cash for an 11 year old to push back into their business. If your child is in any way like mine, he would want to make a bigger coop and get 20 more chickens. Within a year, your child would have learnt the rudiments of owning a business and making it grow. If you own a small garden, why not section out a few square feet of it and let your 8year old till it and plant some easy growing everyday vegetable like Spinach? Let the child learn to water and weed their little farm until the vegetables are ready to be cultivated. Sit together and make out bunches to be sold to friends and neighbours. Repeat the cycle every 2-3 weeks and by the end of the year, your little gardener would not only be a mini vegetable growing expert but also a mini business man/woman.
Many housewives will be happy to have a neighbourhood vegetable garden to buy from and cute little business men and women simply melt people's hearts into buying their goods. If you have a preteen or a newly sprouted teenager, teach them to learn bread or cake making. Send them out to the homes of your trusted neighbours to inform them of their new business and help sell their goods to your friends and colleagues in the office. Many people will readily buy into the idea of helping to encourage a budding entrepreneur, including moi.
Their are hundreds of business ideas for young children to learn from. Encourage your children to explore them. You never know where your child's destiny will them him/her, don't narrow their paths to success. Open up for them as many windows as possible. Life is full of surprises. A dentist I know now makes millions as a cake maker. A well known professional pharmacist now makes an impressive living as a columnist and newspaper owner. Career paths should not be treated like they are cast in stone. Don't build single-doored cages around your children, open up a window or two for them to look through. rocaltrol cheap online generic viagra shipped overnight Pills Buy Purchase
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