"Entrepreneur" is rapidly becoming our culture's worst and most diluted term: we're not really sure what it is anymore, but we know that people who describe themselves as such tend to really suck a lot. The next step is to teach our kids to be little capitalistic jerks, too.
Jake Johnson is a father and "Brand Experience Director." He believes that it's smart to teach your kids about the value of money and the worthiness of work early on. He's right! But saying that "entrepreneurship" is the solution to a child's financial education is like saying a gang bang is the solution to its sex education. "Entrepreneur" is a nothing word given everything value—it's hailed by presidents, executives, and teachers alike. Something to do with bootstraps, labor, and money. Tech people love to describe themselves are entrepreneurial, and it's a great label to glue over what's otherwise a human void.
So let's try it out with kids, sure—the rationality of being a baby combined with the discipline of the free market:
So, for instance, during the fall, Liam noticed the yard was full of dead leaves. He approached me with the proposition to clean up the leaves for payment. We negotiated $10 fee. He did a great job and made $10 in a couple hours, which is pretty good money for a kid.
Little kids shouldn't be "approaching" their parents with "propositions" and "negotiating" them for money. Just do what your fucking parents tell you because you're a baby and they're not babies. The notion of childhood as a startup is vile:
The other day, he noticed that his nana and papa’s car was dirty. He proposed to clean it for $5. A deal was struck. He then leveraged that deal into cleaning his aunt’s car too. He made a total of $10 in a couple hours—and got to play with the hose.
Oh my God. Children should definitely not be "leveraging" anything, ever. It's bad enough when grownups say it. And playing with a hose should be its own pleasure, its own reward, not the consequence of leveraging and negotiation.
Initially, Liam was planning on doing all the car washes himself. But I threw a curve ball out there to see how he would respond.
“What if you hired your friends to wash the cars?” I asked. “You could charge your customers $5 per car and pay your employees $3. They do the work, and you make $2 per car.”
Even if it weren't perverse enough to encourage a child to pursue employer status among his tiny friends, it's also just bad advice. How often have we seen young "entrepreneurs" fuck each other over, again, and again, and again? Let children be children. Let them grow up and learn about effort without the added factors of greed, ego, bullshittery, fawning, preening, selfishness, and everything else that comes along with the entrepreneurial spirit—they have their entire adult lives to betray and exploit each other.