Monday, July 21, 2008

My Daughter, the Capitalist

When my daughter was really small, maybe three or four, we were headed up Knoxville's Cherokee Trail where construction crews were cutting down trees and tearing up a mountainside in preparation for what is now surely the creme de la creme of college housing. As I bemoaned the loss of habitat and trees, and wondered aloud where all the homeless birds and animals would now live, my small daughter pointed out that not ALL the trees were being torn down. That the birds and animals could go live in nearby trees. And--in a tone implying I was being short-sighted and slightly dense--TREES GROW BACK. So no need to get all worked up about it. Given that her father is a real estate developer, the apple clearly does not fall far from THAT tree.

Fast forward a few years and I can see she is putting things together, like the idea that money does not just magically appear in a bank account; things you like cost money you must earn; choices must be made with the money you have; and charging interest is a good way to get her dad to pay back wages owed for making evening compost runs. Her dad is entrepreneurial, and although what's valuable in life can't be bought--family, spirituality, true friends, and happiness--we want to teach her that it's important to be productive, financially self-sufficient, and to THINK BIG. If not THINK BIG, then at least, THINK.

All that THINKING has been centered of late on buying a donut machine. It might be a cool thing for a kid to have a once-a-week donut venture in Knoxville. We've added up the cost of purchasing the equipment and determined how many donuts it would take to cover the costs. If she can break even, working through the issues of physical effort, customer service, purchasing of raw ingredients, marketing, and logistics would be a good learning experience. And she's excited about it.

There obviously would be a lot of parental effort involved, but she could pay us in donuts. How bad could that be?

No comments: