Kids Who Do Things the Hard Way

A kid who does things the hard way can grow into an adult who is capable of doing hard things. I discovered this truth some time ago.  I was a kid who did things the hard way.  This is one of those truths that helps to reinforce the work of Lenore Skenazy.  Of course, she’s been labeled the worst mom in America because some people need to sell clicks and that title is a lot more interesting than “mom who trusted her kid to do something that was statistically safe.” Safe things can be hard and doing hard things can be good.  It teaches us to be comfortable outside of our comfort zone and when you’re the sort of person who’s comfortable in difficult situations you’ll be capable of doig hard things.

Ice Cream Philosophiser

“Dad, if you think about it everything in the world is either made of ice cream, or not made of ice cream.” While this is a bit odd it does show a propensity for binary thinking.  I didn’t quite know how to respond, but in my head I’m thinking 1’s and 0’s aren’t going to scare this kid. Oh, and to be clear, he’s correct.  Things are either made of ice cream, or they’re not.  I wonder which things aren’t made of ice cream that probably should be.
person holding icecream
Photo by Oleg Magni on

No College Fund Here


My normal parenting ideas aren’t terribly impressive.  So, when I get a good one like this, I think it’s worth sharing–mostly because in comparison I’m not that smart.

In our house we don’t have a college fund for our kids.  I didn’t have one and I have a Masters Degree in IT/Project management.  But, would you believe I only went to school full time for less than 18 months?

When those 18 months did happen I was 28 years old and the father of three kids.  I saw the difference between my classmates who worked to pay for their school and those that had significant parental backing.  Now, there were good and bad choices on either end of the payment model, but on the whole, the kids who were personally invested in their school were personally invested in being successful at their school work.  Now that there’s some time afterwards, those kids also seem to be the ones that are happier and predominantly more successful.  So much education happens outside of school!

I want to gift the same things to my kids.  So this year my wife and I invested in a Cotton Candy Machine for the family.  The family owns it, but the oldest kid has dibs on being the ‘boss’ and hiring their friends/siblings to work birthday parties, fairs, or other events to make money for their future.

Last Friday with very little supervision the kids did their first event.  The contract required them to donate 50% of their profits.  The kids still walked away making several times what they would have in babysitting.

Yesterday I came home and they scheduled their next event all on their own.  They networked with adults, sent emails, and confirmed logistics all by themselves.  Behind the scenes the oldest is working with her friends to get a logo for some business cards. I’ve had a lot of proud dad moments thanks to this little pink machine.  I think they’re learning the lessons Mike Rowe mentions aren’t part of a college curriculum.

It’s not my best idea, but it’s so much better than my normal ideas that I had to share.

Practial Advice (Kid’s Closet)

So I realized that my blog posts will probably still be online by the time that my kids have their own kids. They may even look to them for advice on how to address issues in their lives. I know that there’s several times I’ve asked mom to copy pages from her Journal so I could read them. I’m really interested in what it was like raising me.

So here’s a bit of practical advice that has nothing to do with your computer. Whether you stick multiple kids in the same room or not, have them all separate their clothes–give each kid a color. “China”-mart generally has mutliple colors for hangars, and they usual go on sale about the same time of the “back to school stuff” goes on sale.

This solves a lot of parental confusion for who’s clothes are who’s. Daniel’s closet now has a rod that’s at his level. At three he knows which clothes are his (blue hangar). Eliza knows which ones are hers (pink hangars–and the more girly clothes). Rainey doesn’t have as much of a clue yet–but his hangars are white.

There’s like a rule about blogs that says you can’t post text without a picture. Since I didn’t have a picture of hangars I googled it. Found the picture above, but then I also found this one.

There’s something about a giant gorilla made of coat hangars that tells me someone’s got too much time on their hands! WOW for creativity.

Hopefully my posterity will read the post tagged “Gorilla” when they’re looking at how to organize their kids’ closets.