For as long as I can remember, I remember my father sharing stories of my family's rich history. My father has gone to great lengths and spent many hours educating my sisters and I on the triumphs and accomplishments of our family. He told stories of my grandfather who refused to work as a sharecropper and worked endlessly to give his children the future of hope and success. My grandfather taught his children that education and hard work were the keys to success. He was able to purchase land from his father and later give land to his children. That land still belongs to our family. Because of that work ethic and determination, my grandparents were able to proudly watch all six of their children attend college, bringing forth teachers,superintendents, chancellors, supervisors, business owners, and principles. Those six children married and begin to pass on the same keys to success in life.
My sisters and I grew up knowing that college was a requirement in our household. My father, mother, many aunts and uncles had gone to college. When my father retired at the age of 50 he began to drill entrepreneurship. He would constantly tell us that ownership was apart of who we were. My sisters and I have always been Daddy's girls, thinking that our father could do no wrong. In our minds, Daddy is ALMOST always right. So when my father said we could be entrepreneurs, we believed him. My father helped me start a thriving hair salon while, he opened a residential care facility for adolescent boys. He tried in every way possible to get us involved in his ventures. My sister, who is a nurse, is the resident nurse, my sister "the techie" handles all of our technological issues, and most recently I have begun going a few days a week to assist with administrative duties. On the days when I go to work for my father, I sometimes take the non-schoolers. I have convinced them that it is necessary for us all to go to work to help "Papa" with his business. My four year old has really taken to this idea. In preparing for the next day, if he knows we are going to work, he takes out his "work clothes." Usually khakis and a button down shirt, I noticed he is mimicking what he sees my husband and my father wear to work. He walks in the business with confidence because he knows his "Papa" owns the place.
My sister called today to tell me that she had begun talking to her little ones about entrepreneurship. During that conversation her little ones informed her that "Lil Ike", my four year old is an entrepreneur. In our visits to the business he has convinced himself that he too is a business owner and he proudly tells everyone that he goes to work. It dawned on me that he is taking work very serious because he views it as his own, and some day it shall be.
This is what parenting is about. I think of parenting as kind of a learn as you go experience. There are things I will get right, but there are tons of things I will get wrong. But it is those moments when you realize that your words and actions are shaping the lives of the people of the future. The decisions I make now to educate or not to educate them on certain things impact their thoughts and ultimately their actions and decisions in the future. I sit here with a big grin on my face as I happily tap away at the keyboard chronicling this story, all because I know that I am equipping my little ones to successfully grab hold to their prosperous futures. I know that one day these very same lessons will be passed on to my grandchildren, great-grands, and many other generations to come, and that I feel good about!