The other day Brandon and I were talking to a single-dad. He was telling us some of his philosophies of raising his kids. Actually, mostly he shared how much he disagrees with how other people raise their kids. It was about a 15 minute conversation but I kept thinking about it days later.
I do not have kids yet but his thoughts inspired me to reflect about how my own parents raised me. No parents are perfect. The key word in the title of this post is “allowed.” I learned the skills of an entrepreneur not because my parents taught them to me but because they allowed me to learn.
I have always been a leader. Let me tell you a story to illustrate.
When I was 4 years old, a lady told me my name is Amanda. Up until that point, my family and friends had always called me Mandy. I thought that was my name. I told this lady she was wrong. She told me to go ask my mom. When I found out my real name is Amanda, not Mandy, I was mad. I felt like everyone had been lying to me. From that day forward I have been known as Amanda. When we enrolled for Kindergarten, I made double sure I would be called Amanda. Only people who knew me prior to my 5th birthday or people who are family can call me Mandy. (That means 99.99% of you who read this post cannot call me Mandy – ever!)I took leadership over my name and what people would call me. At fours years of age… maybe I am a little bit too much Type A… but then again…
It hit me recently. My parents raised me very well.
I am incredibly fortunate. My parents embraced my leadership. They were definitely not “helicopter parents.” They let me figure things out on my own because they knew that way of parenting was right for me and my temperament and abilities.
I do not remember exactly how old I was but I was very young when I started to do my own laundry, cook for myself, decide how to spend my days during summer vacation, redecorate my bedroom, and so many more activities that were part of taking leadership over my own life.
As I got older, I also took leadership roles within our family.
Sometime around 5th grade, I forced my dad to start recycling more than just the aluminum cans he could trade in for cash. We started collecting paper, glass, and cardboard. That’s all our local recycling facility would take at the time. He continued even after I left for college. When I was about 13 or 14, I sat my mom down and forced her to create a budget. Then I would sit down with her monthly to pay her bills and check in on the budget. Additionally, we would compare planners to make sure I knew her schedule and she knew mine.
My parents also allowed me to make my own decisions about extracurriculars. They supported whatever I did. They showed up to games and performances. In high school, they would bring me dinner at 5:30ish and then pick me up at 9:30 after music practices almost every night of the week. I learned a lot of entrepreneurial skills during those extracurriculars. The only thing I would change is learning more piano skills. My parents never forced me to practice much… But entrepreneurs do not need to play piano.