Today, there are many parents who would like to raise their children to be entrepreneurs, to instill in them the belief that they can create their own wealth doing what they love rather than work for someone else.
Unfortunately, not many children get an education that prepares them for an entrepreneurial path. But that may soon be changing.
There are many such teaching methods that ignite the power of thinking and learning in young minds. Here are three examples:
Pestalozzi: The Pestalozzi method emphasizes spontaneity and self-activity. Children aren’t given ready-made answers, but are encouraged to arrive at the answers on their own. It cultivates observing, judging and reasoning. Above all, children are encouraged to use their imagination to visualize images. As Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination circles the world.” He credits the year he spent in a Pestalozzi-inspired school with his success. As Einstein biographer Walter Isaacson observes, “The visual understanding of concepts, as stressed by Pestalozzi … became a significant aspect of Einstein’s genius.”
Montessori: The Montessori method of teaching allows children to spend large parts of the day however they choose to learn, while the teacher observes. It’s predicated on the theory that structured teacher-driven lessons inhibit a child’s natural development. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin claim that it was their Montessori education that instilled in them the spirit of independence and creativity.
Harkness: The Harkness style of teaching, also called Harkness Table, is the brainchild of oil magnate Edward Harkness. Learning takes place around a round table, conference style, rather than behind traditional school desks. This encourages students to take responsibility for their learning and to share their opinions. Among its notable alumni are Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and novelist John Irving.
What Parents Can Do:
Support your children’s natural inclinations.
If your children show an early entrepreneurial bent, give them a lot of support. If your child is setting up a lemonade stand at a school event or picking flowers and selling them, and they’re only 8 years old, all you need to do is react to the fact that they’re already entrepreneurs and give them a lot of rope. This means freedom, support, acknowledgement and building up as much steam behind their entrepreneurial actions as you can.
Behind every successful entrepreneur is often a parent who cheered them on. Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, and Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot, for example, are two entrepreneurs who credit a parent for encouraging them to be an entrepreneur.
Teach children about entrepreneurship at home.
If you’re an entrepreneur yourself, involve your children in your endeavors. Show them what you do, and how you do it. Give them small tasks related to your business. Point out businesses in your neighborhood that are entrepreneurial: the corner coffeehouse, the flower shop or the food cart. Encourage them to observe how these people sell, and how they treat customers. Use these as real world lessons. Create an environment at home that encourages entrepreneurship, without forcing it on your children if they’re not so inclined. You can also share stories of grade school entrepreneurs, or expose them to magazine articles of successful entrepreneurs who got an early start.
Pair them with an entrepreneurial mentor.
Most successful people have a mentor or a coach. You can do the same for your children. Have them spend time with friends or family members who are entrepreneurs.
Expose your children to online opportunities for self-learning, even if some of these, may seem to be geared for a more adult audience. It will stretch their minds.
Instill the right characteristics.
Above all, teach your kids the importance of values, and how to develop character.
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