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Do You Nurture You Up and Comings?

Being a Mum of “switched on” teens can be challenging – particularly when you are working with organisations that just don’t get our youngsters are the key to the future.

So here’s my question – do you nurture your up and coming stars – or are you bound by “rules and regulations”?

Here’s my challenge, one of my youngsters was really keen to get involved in an enterprise that would allow them to create a recurring income stream that would, supposedly, last forever.  Yes, the system requires the ‘authorised person’ to be 18… I’m cool with that, it’s a legal thing and I’m prepared to enter into the agreement based on the fact that I’m the ‘front person’ and my teen will be the one who learns the system, presentations, benefits etc.  Essentially, I’m there as a coach…

Great stuff!  Having been involved in a number of systems; this isn’t an issue – training is offered to the parties interested in the system and generally, all parties are welcomed – after all, you’re growing awareness and ensuring everyone is party to the correct system.

Mum and Daughter - supportI’m a massive advocate of young people who “want to change the world”.  Anyone who is interested enough to learn a system, promote the products and the system should be given the opportunity to do so – as long as they have an adult who can coach / mentor them.  By all means, make it a condition of attending training that the Adult must be present – but why would you destroy the enthusiasm of your up and coming business builders by saying “you’re not 18, you can’t attend”.

For heavens sake! This young person is exactly the type of person you want in your business – let’s look at some examples of young people who have done really well, despite ‘the rules’.

Anthills 30Under30 Achievers

Jeremy Hansen, QLD (b. 1996)

Jeremy is my daugthers’ age!

Jeremy’s company, GlowBored, has provided PR services for various large national touring theatre shows, including “Legally Blonde” and “Annie.” This year, he’s heading on tour with the Miranda Sings Australian Tour, as the outfit’s national publicist.

Alex Jeffery, VIC (b. 1994)

GettBusy is business venture number five for Jeffery. And as for most entrepreneurs who really done got busy, his success is no lucky occurrence: it’s the fruit of a greater plan to rock the business world.

Brandon Cowan, NSW (b. 1994)

Brandon co-founded Crazy Dog Apps because “not turning at least some of my app ideas into reality was not an option.” Now, at 19, he is a sole owner of one of only 364 Aussie app development companies.

 What about all the other Young Entrepreneurs?

Violent Lips

Violent Lips was created by entertainment industry veteran Jeff Haddad and his daughters Isabella and Sophia. At 13 years old, Isabella Haddad and her sister were playing with their mom’s temporary Chanel tattoos when she affixed them to her lips. Just like that, the idea for temporary lip art was born as Isabella and her family set out to create FDA approved, cosmetic grade lip appliques. Fast-forward two years later and her company, Violent Lips is one of the fastest growing trends in beauty – being hailed as the “Future of Lipstick” by Allure Magazine.

Or the other Entrepreneurs Who Made A Fortune Before They Were 18?

My goodness, what if their parents or they paid attention to the system that said they ‘had to be 18’?

What amazes me are the number ‘systems’ that restrict access to their training to those who are 18 and over. Are you kidding me?  If these “kids” are driving the business you’ve invested in, they’re going to be one of your best recruits – they’ll be “indoctrinated” into the system and they’ll know how to sell it, present it and grow it – WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?

Mentor them in and support now

If you want an absolutely kick ass business – mentor the youngsters in.  Show them how the business really works, teach them the system – they’ll hit the ground running…

Of course, you could tell them you’re not interested in dealing with them until they’re 18 because “the rules” say you can’t – do you reckon they’ll want to be in your business and helping you when they do turn 18?  Or will they go with the guys who have provided the support and mentoring?

What about the parents who agree they’ll be the front person but are told that only they can turn up for the training etc?  Do you really think you’ll have the dedicated team you want?

Get Over Yourself

If you reckon you’re all that great, then prove it!  Work out how to mentor youngsters through their formative years and become “all they can be”.

Rules are made to be broken

Lots of things annoy me – my hubbie and my kids will tell you that.  I was once told I have a high “sense of justice” and I guess that’s true.  When I see something that is unfair, I want to get on my soapbox and espouse unto the world…. however, taking action is far better than just railing against the injustice of systems.

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about “rules” and how others perceive them.

We are in a long and unending discussion with our Mortgage provider.  I won’t go into details but suffice to say that we’re paying somewhere between 4% and 6% more on our mortgage than “standard” rates.  This happened due to a combination of events and we’re now looking at options.  We submitted paperwork, to our provider, back in February requesting assistance on the matter and have heard nothing.  We’ve already taken independant action about this but on Thursday, I received a phone call from our latest “account manager” and finally asked what the status of our request was.  This person stated they were unaware of the paperwork and had to look it up, which they did. Their only update was the information we had been given in February when we lodged the paperwork. So here we are 5 months later (paperwork was lodged at the end of February) and they’ve done nothing.  When I asked why nothing had been done, the person got mildly aggressive and blamed me for “not listening”.  Good luck to them, we’ll be taking our complaint through the various regulatory bodies and seeking mediation and resolution.

It’s funny that when you decide to “stand up for yourself” and “speak out”, people get defensive (or aggressive) and turn the blame back to you.  Well, I won’t stand for it – they put us through hoops in order to lodge the paperwork and then promptly did nothing with it.  That’s their issue – it’s not up to me to run their process and I’m well within my rights to not only ask the status but to demand an explanation of where the delay is.

Moving on…

You don't learn to walk by following rulesBlind obedience to the rules is something that has been grating on me for a long time.  As a business owner, I have processes.  Those processes are designed to help us, help our clients more effectively and when those processes don’t work, we review them.  There’s also an understanding that processes are (sometimes) designed to be ‘ignored’ to get a job done.  It’s a really fine balance and, as a business leader, I need to be on top this ALL OF THE TIME.

I get agitated when systems and processes obviously don’t work – and the answer you get is “that’s the system and we can’t do anything about it”.  What a load of crock – OF COURSE YOU CAN.  A process is only as good as the people implementing it – you should be providing feedback and making suggestions on how to improve it.  Living with a broken system because “that’s the just the way it is” is totally unacceptable.

As many of my readers know, I’m passionate about helping youngsters (particularly my own youngsters) in doing “more” with their life.  We have rules in our society that define what is and isn’t ‘the norm’ for children to do based on their age.

  • Morgan found it hard at school because lessons were just so boring – he couldn’t understand why he had to sit  for 4 to 6 hours a day in a classroom and ‘be lectured at’ when he made far more progress by doing something.
  • Rhi was bored and disenchanted in school. She was ‘dumbing herself down’ to fit in with her peer group (don’t get me wrong, some of her peers were brilliant, but the norm for the year was to not appear clever) and was starting to experience self esteem issues associated with this behaviour.

In both cases, Stu and I sought out alternatives to help the kids achieve their potential and combat (yes, combat) the issues they were experiencing.  We had to step outside the “rules” that were in place and find other answers – and we did.

  • Both children started a School Based Apprenticeship in Year 10 – which at the time was nearly unheard of.  We had to ‘break some rules’ to get them approved… 
  • Rhi moved on to an accelerated learning program which completely changed her perspective.

We were fortunate to find a group of teachers who were prepared to help us challenge the status quo and work together to help our young people achieve.

This week, I find that we are challenged yet again with another of these “rules” that limits participation due to age – no, you’re not old enough to attend this course… My question is WHY NOT?  The course is not dependant on physical ability (and if it was, age is not a determining factor), the only “legal” complication is being able to enter into a contract which can be done with myself or their dad as a proxy… it just doesn’t make sense.  Why on earth would you take a willing and eager participant and turn them away?   Of course, the flip side of that coin is that “you’re too old” for this course (or job) and that’s just as bad and subject of a whole other discussion…

You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.
Richard Branson

Encouraging The Chick To Fly The Nest

rhi-apsylc-2013-800x800This last week, I saw my daughter off to China to attend the Asian Pacific Young Student Leadership Congress in China. I was struck with mixed feelings.

Great, great pride.  After all, she is one of 8 students selected to represent Australia … it’s an opportunity of a lifetime and recognition of the hard work she’s put into her schooling and participation over the last 18 months.

However I was challenged by the fact that my baby, and regardless of how old she is or will be she will always be my baby, was off to China – without myself or her Dad.  What happens if something goes wrong, how could I fix it?  How could I help her when she is so many miles away?

In the long run, all I could tell myself was how much of a growth opportunity this is for her.

I can only imagine what she will experience, the friends and connections she will make and how her perceptions of the world could change. I’m not alone in this – many of my friends have said the same thing and are keen to see the growth too.

I’m treating this journey as the practice run for when she leaves home in another 18 months (OMG, it’s just 18 months!) to attend Uni.  At least right now, she’ll be going to Adelaide for Uni and not leaving the country!

When I look at this brilliant young woman, I’m stunned at the changes we’ve seen in the last 18 months to 2 years.  From an intelligent, but withdrawn, girl to an intelligent, engaged, young woman who is prepared to step up and lead.   The other night, as we were driving home from an appointment, I remarked on how changed she was and how happy she seemed – and she stopped momentarily to think and then said “I am sooooo happy.”

We often joke that we’re pushy parents but the real truth is that we encourage both our kids to look seriously at the options available to them and make informed decisions.  With Rhi, the process we began 2 years ago was a challenge but it’s reaping rewards for her now.  Now, our young teen is happy and engaged. What more could we want?

Still, I’m counting the days till she’ll be home again and I eagerly await her blog updates to see what’s she’s been up to and experienced.  You can too by following her (and the other students) on the APYSLC 2013 blog.




Rhiannon To Be Featured As A Young Entrepreneur

I am very big on encouraging my children to have online businesses.  Today, I received the best news ever!

My 12 year old Daughter, Rhiannon has been selected as one of two Under 16 year old entrepreneurs to be featured in a book written by Business Writer Peter Economy.

Rhiannon receives this honour through a competition run by Jenny Ford from Cash Smart Kids and will be featured in Peter’s 2008 Charity Book Project.  The Charity Book Project was developed by Peter Economy as a way to use his passion – writing – to give something back, and hopefully to make the world a better place.

Continue Reading →

Does DayCare Cause Brain Damage?

There are days that I am ashamed to be a parent.  Reading this morning – not something I would normally do except someone sent me an interesting link – and I came across the article:

Mem Fox says daycare ‘damages’ babies

As a mother who did have her children in Daycare from a VERY young age – the headline, of course, caught my attention.  I was disgusted by what I read and the first comment on the article really made my blood boil.

For those who know me…. I am an extremely passionate person and believe in standing up for injustice when I see it.  When I read this article – I felt is spoke directly to me and I felt it necessary to respond.

62 year old Mem Fox, is the author of Possum Magic (an Australian childrens book).  According the article, Mem Fox drew howls of protest after comparing child care to child abuse early last month and in her first major interview since, Fox stated that babies less than 12-months-old who are placed in prolonged day care will suffer brain damage. Continue Reading →

Happy Birthday Morgan

My son turns 14 today.  When I reflect on this, I am amazed at just how quickly the time has passed.  Something many mothers do, I’m sure.

I look at the handsome young man who stands before me today and I remember the cute baby I held in my arms, what seems to me, only yesterday.  I remember him starting School…. and I can only wonder what the future will bring for us.

I am incredibly proud of this young man.  He is my ‘pal’ as well as my son and I thank God every day for sending him to me.  O.K, maybe there are some days that are more of a challenge than not – but…. I know how blessed I am to have a son like Morgan.

So, on this day, I celebrate my son.  I say to him that the world is his oyster and his life will be what he makes of it.  I can only hope to provide the guidance and tools to make of life what he will.

Please join with Stuart and I as we wish Morgan, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Should my 12 Year Old Have Her Own Domain?

An interesting discussion occured tonight. My 12 year old, Rhiannon, enjoys writing and journalling and we have been helping her build online businesses and blogging. I have noticed how her written expression has improved as a result of this.

I wanted to let her develop her own personal blog where she can journal about her life, not necessarily about business. Her Dad asked the obvious question, “shouldn’t we protect her from the Internet”. An intersting dilemma that I posted to a journalling Skype room that I am a member of and a very insightful discussion between three of us ensued. Continue Reading →