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Most of you know I like business, I like start-ups and I love my kids so I’ve always loved the idea of teaching them about business, money and life through giving them ownership in some kid-sized venture.

A new site was just launched to do this called franchild.com It helps your kid launch a retail business selling candles, jewelry, apparel or soap (tip from Springwise.com).

Interesting idea that has me thinking.  I have a huge preference for internet-based service start-ups vs. retail but I love this concept.

Ancestry

One of the reasons are value for a multi-generational family vision has disappeared in America is because we don’t know and have not recorded our family stories.  Enter Ancestry Press.  Their offering is the best I’ve seen to date using very simple drag and drop features for publishing a family book or tree and tracking your family’s history online.

Collision of Identies

I wrote these two descriptions wrestling with how to describe how the enormous difference between the way we develop children’s identities today and the way they were developed in most ancient cultures.

Part 1 – Narrative of teenager in Jesus’ day – Yitzach son of Asa of the tribe of Judah

Yizach Bio – Yitzach lives in the village of Tekoa. He has 3 older brothers 2 older and 1 younger sister. His family owns 23 acres of olive trees, 35 acres of wheat as well as 84 sheep, 14 goats and the family home in the village as well a variety of living sheds and barns on their land. They employ 3 full-time servants, 2 who assist with the household and 1 who is an assistant foreman for projects. They employ anywhere between 2 and 20 seasonal employees depending on harvest time and other peak seasons.

In his family home lives all of his siblings including his older brother’s wife and their 2 children, his great aunt and his grandfather who is a widower and a village elder representing their family and serving their community.

Describe your family – We are descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from the tribe of Judah and the line of Jahab who led our family in the war against the Greeks 200 years ago. Before the Romans took over our family owned 200 acres of olive trees but we have slowly begun to sell our land to pay the heavy taxes put on us by the Romans. My father has asked me to learn a new trade for our family in case we lose the rest of our land.

Who are your heroes? – My biggest hero is Jahab. We still have his sword and shield hanging in our home and grandfather tells us stories about him and other ancestors of our clan every Sabbath.

What do you want to do when you get older? I’m hoping to learn the skill of blacksmithing and to sell my wares and services to help my family keep our land and eventually buy more of it back from a Roman centurion.

What is your family hoping to accomplish this year? – We are hoping to save enough from the harvest and from all the lambs that were born this year to buy back one of our acres and to add on a room to the house for when my 2nd oldest brother is wed.

What would you like to accomplish this year? – I’m learning ancient Hebrew from our Rabbi and hope to honor my family by being able to read the Torah well at my Bar mitzphah. My parents will also have paid for me to learn some valuable skills from Joseph the blacksmith and I hope to bring in twice as much this year as last year by repairing equipment for families in our village.

What is your biggest hope? – That the Messiah would return and bring justice for my family for all the suffering we endured under the Romans. That our home and land would be established forever and that our descendants will live in peace in the land.

What is your biggest fear? – That we would be forced to pay even higher taxes and sell the rest of our land and that our family would have to hire ourselves out to other families and then our name would disappear from families of Israel.

Part 2 – Narrative of a teenager today – Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson Bio – Brad lives in a middle class Christian home in the suburbs of Atlanta. He is 12 years old and has an 8 year old sister. His dad works as a regional sales rep for P&G and his mom works part-time teaching preschool. He goes to Roswell Middle School and his grandparents on his dad’s side live in Richmond Virginia and his grandma moved into an apartment near there home where her mom can help care for her.

Describe your family? – Well my parents are nice but a little strict and my sister is totally annoying. My mom help me with my homework and my dad helps coach my little league team in the spring.

Who are your heroes? – Huh, I haven’t thought about that before. I guess a few of the baseball players on the Braves are pretty cool.

What do you want to do when you get older? – I’m not sure. I’ll probably go to college and have to decide then but I think I want to be a professional baseball player.

What is your family hoping to accomplish this year? – Uh, I think we want to go on another vacation to Florida this summer and maybe get a new car.

What would you like to accomplish this year? – I hope to be a pitcher on my baseball team this spring and to make more friends at school. I really hope I get a Playstation 3 for Christmas.

What is your biggest hope? – That the Braves make it to the World Series and that this cute girl at school will notice me.

What is your biggest fear? – That I won’t have any friends at school and will be treated like a nerd by the popular kids.

Discussion Questions 

Where did each kid get his identity? How do you imagine that effect their life?
How do these ideas about family differ?
How did we get our modern idea about family?
What have we lost in the transition?

geniusesAre we failing our geniuses? This provocative question is posed by a recent Time magazine article and inspired a great conversation over at Slashdot.org.

Some interesting quotes from the article and discussion:

…up to ten times as much money is spent nationwide on educating ‘developmentally disabled’ students as gifted one.

“There are no losers” so let’s give everyone an award – we’re raising a generation that thinks mediocrity is ok. It’s not ok, and the failure to nurture gifted children is ensuring our future demise.”

“Some cultures love their smart people. The Asian’s love their smart people. They glorify them, they treat them with a lot of respect, and view them as a source of national pride. We, on the other hand, do not. Culturally, Americans view intellectualism with suspicion. We love the captain of the football team; big, handsome, and dumb. “

“It still comes down to parents doing actual parenting. If you’ve got a gifted child, you have to know they are only going to get so much from their school.

“I was lucky. My parents knew what they were doing. They let me explore my interests without pushing. They had me in a creative writing class. They got me into science competitions. The best thing they did was buy a computer for the house.”

This last comment echoes my own feelings on the subject. Education for both the gifted and developmentally disabled is ultimately the responsibility of the parents NOT the government.

If everyone believed in a strong family identity we would be aggressively nurturing our children instead of nurturing a peer-based identity that is inevitable when your kids spend half their young life at a government run school.

How to Vacation?

I’ve struggled for years about how to take vacations as a family. This year we’re testing out a rhythm (at least for the days we’re on the road) see below.

Also, here’s something I wrote personally about the experience for me.

“I hate vacations. Any time I tell me flesh “this is your time” my6 seater bike
spiritual life takes a plunge. So this time we’re trying something different. We are going on an “adventure” and while we’re gone we’ve developed a rhythm giving every hour purpose and meaning and it is making a HUGE difference. There should be no such thing as
purposeless time. Give the flesh a minute and it will take a month. Do you have “flesh time” built into your schedule? Those hours will often act like a cancerous tumor on your spiritual life. Remove them ruthlessly. There is nothing wrong with relaxing but be filled with the Spirit at all times. Don’t tithe to the flesh
by giving it a percentage of your time. We have a Lord who is
Master of ALL of our time. Radical discipleship – nothing less.”

Picture: The Pryor family riding a 6 seater bike at the KOA campground in West Yellowstone, Montana

Vacation Rhythm:

Time Activity Leader

8:00 B-fast Mommy
9:00 PT Kelsey
9:30 Devotion Daddy
10:00 Pick-up – Plan Day All
10:30 Leave All
10:45 State/Language Study Mommy
11:30 Art Mommy
12:00 Lunch Mommy
12:30 Indv. Reading All
1:00 Game Time Kelsey
2:00 Hobbit Read Daddy
2:30 History Daddy
3:00 Audio Books Daddy
4:00 Plan Dinner Daddy
4:15 Arrive at Camp All
4:30 Sport Training Jackson
5:00 Dinner Prep Daddy
5:30 Internet Daddy
6:30 Eat Dinner – Clean Mommy
7:30 Sing & Share All
8:30 Hobbit Read Daddy
9:00 Bed Time Mommy
9:30 Read & Work Mom & Dad

“I must create a System, or be enslav’d by another Man’s.”
-William Blake

Clock SlaveryLike an idiot taken by the postmodern mood I thought freedom was achieved through avoiding or de-constructing systems. Not unlike the absurd logic of the anarchist whose utopian dream of a system-less existence would lead us all into unending slavery. So what’s the answer if we don’t avoid or destroy systems. The answer is – you beat the machine by re-inventing it.

Systems don’t have to be mindless machines of efficiency. They are whatever we invent them to be. If a system is destroying the environment then what is needed to save the environment is a different system.

So deal with the reality of being a system inventor and implementor and if you hate the machine that is enslaving your life it’s because the guy who made it didn’t give you and your values a second thought when he designed it. How do you ensure your values are considered when submitting to a system that will control your life? Become a system inventor!

It may seem I’m a bit obsessed on the lemonaide stand thing but what better way is there to teach young kids about business?

Checkout this trailer for a bank funding Lemonaires…

Lemonade Stand

My 7 year old daughter produced this quick how to video in case your kids want some help raking in the profits 🙂

Shabbat Shalom

One of the keys to developing a Family Team is sharing rich meaningful traditions. Many of us have begun the development of traditions with the celebration of a Sabbath day as a family around preparing for a day of rest, having a formal meal rich with symbols and spending the Sabbath enjoying each other as a family.

Listen to my interview with Gavin Long on the subject by clicking here -> Developing a Family Sabbath

(you can also download by right click “save target as” or “save link as”)

Gavin has also provided us with the details of his family’s Sabbath traditions in this doc -> Celebrating Sabbath.

Jeremy

A fascinating discussion broke out at Slashdot.org over this article

Richest 2% Own Half the World’s Wealth

A guy named Alex posted one of the most insightful comments on why people do not accumulate wealth. It strikes at the heart of the question, “Do I build wealth toward a multi-generational family vision or is my responsibility simply to provide for myself and those under my roof during this life?”

Read his whole comment here entitled – “Ownership Society” and its pitfalls

He concludes his comment by stating –

For people to acquire wealth, they have to own assets. But people don’t want assets, they want the income that the assets generate. So somehow, the market will need to capture this, which you are seeing, as more and more 401(k) plans offer automatic “annuitization” at retirement. In addition, for people to gain these benefits (individual investments with a historic return of 10%, compared to pension funds with a historic rate of return of 8%), they had to take the risk. Even though the average person would be better off, and some would be much better off, some people would be losers.

How much potential “gains” would you trade to know that you never have to worry about housing, food, healthcare, and education. For most people this is a lot, which is why they work corporate jobs instead of as contractors, where the expected return is higher but the downtimes hurt people more. Economics is just starting to appreciate this, with a realization that utility decreases a LOT more with a 1% loss than it increases with a 1% gain.

He nails, in a better way then I’ve yet read, the economic philosophy and motivation of the typical American regarding the building of multi-generational assets. It really does come down to whether you building for a long or short-term vision.  Are you building a multi-generational family line or a single-generation family lifestyle?