It’s amazing how the most innocent questions can sometimes generative the most thought.
It happened this morning. My son and I had a lovely 15-minute conversation that started with a single question:
Momma, how can I make money so that I can buy things?
My first instinct (which I think is a rather natural one) was to give him the “you get a job” line. But then I paused, realizing that I don’t really want my children to believe this. I don’t want them to think that they only way they can make money is to “get a job.” It’s not what I’ve done as a professional and businesswoman and it’s certainly not what I expect my children to do.
So my answer to him was that you make money by giving people something they want. I even used the phrase “you provide value to people”. . . though I think that was a little too abstract for him. But I brought it back to his level and talked about what mommy and daddy do. Daddy is a conductor and administrator. He helps make sure the university runs smoothly and that students learn. Mommy is a music therapist. She helps people through music.
What I like about this perspective is that it not only resonates with my values, but it applies to most, if not all, situations. If you “have a job,” you are still providing value and are getting paid for it. If you run an online business, you are providing a valuable service or product and people of paying you for it. If you have an offline business, either service- or product-oriented, you are providing something of value and people are paying you for it.
And what of value does my 6-year-old son want to provide when he grows up?