Since the time when I was a child, a lot has changed. I was born in 1962 and am 50 years old at the time that I am writing this article. Can you imagine the changes that the world has seen in my lifetime. I would argue that in the span of the past 50 years the world has seen more change than in any other 50 year span in history. I mean think about the things that have changed.
On the day that I was born, for the first time a man orbited the earth. My parents have told me about how during my birth, the doctors would keep leaving the delivery room to go check on how John Glenn’s earth orbit was going. Since that day, we have landed men on the moon. We have lots of satellites orbiting the earth and providing things like communication and such. We have technology like GPS and such. Like I say, a lot of things have changed in the 50 years that I have roamed the earth.
I am an entrepreneur. I like to come up with new businesses. It is fun for me, and I enjoy it a lot. I personally believe that I started developing my entrepreneurial skills at the age of about 10 years old. Maybe even a bit earlier. When I was 10, I got my first job. I picked strawberries at a farm about 40 miles from where I lived. Every morning I would get up early, around 3am, and walk in to town where I would catch a bus that would take me to the strawberry farm. We got paid based on how many strawberries we would pick. I did that for one summer, and earned a lot of money for a 10 year old. You know what? A 10 year old could not do that these days. Can you imagine the outcry that would be all over TV and the Internet? Child labor! Exploited Children! It would be huge. I don’t know, it never hurt me. In fact, it helped me become the person who I am today.
I did not grow up in a poor family where I had to work to help my parents make it. No, actually, my family was an upper middle class family. My dad had a good job. My mom was a stay at home mother, as most women were back in those days. So, I was not forced to get a job, or to work. I did it because I wanted to, it was fun to me. I enjoyed having some money in my pocket, even at a young age.
In my later childhood years, starting at 11 or so, I became the entrepreneur that I am today. Instead of getting a job from somebody else, I started my own businesses. I never really thought of it like that, but that is exactly what I did. I had a babysitting service. I had a lawn care and gardening business. I sold rare items at school (got in trouble for that one, though). I always had at least a couple of businesses going, and I was always making money. With my money, I would support my hobbies, some of which were expensive. I enjoyed bicycling, and I always had a very nice bike, which I bought with my own money, except for my first bike, which my father helped me buy (he paid half). I was always interested in electronics and especially shortwave radio, and my businesses afforded me the opportunity to purchase radio equipment. A friend was also into shortwave radio, and he and I would go almost every weekend on the bus to visit different radio stores around Los Angeles. Of course, I could only do it on weekends when I didn’t have any jobs lined up.
In today’s world, from time to time we hear about kids who make it big in some kind of unexpected business. But, it is rare now for kids to work compared to when I was a kid.
I often encourage my kids to come up with some kind of business, usually I suggest something on the Internet. So far, it has not happened, but I do hope to see my kids take up something that they can start off while they are still kids. I believe that my encouraging my kids to work probably goes against what most parents do these days. I personally believe that few parents encourage such activity from kids. However, as I said earlier, I believe that my work and business activities as a child encouraged me and molded me into the person I am today. I would not trade it for anything, because I am happy with the person that I became. Life is good.
If any kids read this, I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on working as a child, starting a business, or really anything along these lines. Grown ups can comment too!