A note to parents: Wake up and smell the roses

You don’t have to actually be an entrepreneur nor own your own business in order to benefit greatly from adopting an entrepreneurial mindset. Workplace readiness and employability in future will depend on your child’s ability to adopt this mindset. We are living in uncertain times and cannot continue to blame everyone and everything for the status quo. We believe that by embracing the role of victim, instead of taking full responsibility, we will be able to dodge some curve balls and challenges thrown at us. Wake up my friends. I know it is far easier to sit back (and complain) or launch protest action and shout from the rooftops that life isn’t fair.

Fees might fall, Zuma might leave office, we might get great leadership in future, the economy might recover, we might escape the downgrade to junk status, our school system might begin to empower and capacitate kids for the world of work and business. The reality is that even if everything ends up in a beautiful fairytale, we do not have enough jobs in our formal sector to cater for the number of youth coming through the system.

Despite all the uncertainty and turmoil, I stand amazed by looking at parents, people in general and institutions that continue to do the same things over and over and expecting different results. Why would parents for instance simply assume that their kids will be able to sustain themselves one day? Are you as a parent betting on the fact that your kid has a specific skin colour, level of intelligence, sports talent, or will probably obtain a university degree? Smell the roses. None of these aspects is as special as you might think and nothing is guaranteed. Also, neither government nor corporate SA feels a damn about your child’s future. He/she is one of millions that need to face a very complex future and it is the role of parents to ensure that their kids are capacitated with the required skills and competencies. No, the school, or even higher education system will not do it for you. Whatever we have been busy with for the last 30 years is not working – the youth unemployment rate proves this point.

If you want to unleash the greatness in your kids you need to teach them the mindset of an entrepreneur. They will greatly benefit from this, even if they themselves never start a business. How does it work you ask? Well, although a bit more comprehensive, it boils down to the following:

Teach your kids that they are in control of their own destiny, and doing certain things are likely to give them greater odds that they will be successful. Nobody owes them anything. They need to work diligently on their dreams without expecting shortcuts or handouts.

  • One set of skills is not enough. Actively develop the ones you have and don’t be afraid to acquire new ones. Don’t wait until life throws you a curveball — instead, invest in yourself through personal and professional development before you need it.
  • Teach them to be relentless. Things that are worthwhile take effort and stick-to-it-ness to achieve. Certainly you want to course correct as needed, but understand that you need to put forth effort in your pursuits. It is during the pursuit that we grow and figure out how to overcome and ultimately reach our intended destination. Life’s challenges teach us to grow through them.
  • Teach your kids to take one step at a time and DREAM BIG. Nothing comes easy and concerted effort and persistence are non-negotiable.