The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family – Part 1

Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni

I’m a big fan of NY Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni. I’ve heard him speak at conferences on several occasions and have read all his books on business leadership.

I’m an even bigger fan now that he’s written a very compelling leadership book for families.  Yes, you heard right…families!

The book is called The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity to the Most Important Organization in Your Life.

Here’s Pat in his own words:

What is the most important organization in our lives? The companies where we work? The schools where our children learn? The churches where we worship? As important as all of these are, none compares to our families. It is the single most relevant, impactful and precious institution in society, and yet, as an organization it is largely ignored.

What I mean is that compared to the other organizations in our lives, we spend almost no time doing any formal planning or strategizing about how to run our families. Even those of us who take part in strategic planning at work or school or church somehow feel content to live our home lives in a reactive, unplanned way. Exceptions to this include our finances, where we spend time thinking about savings and investments and budgets. But when it comes to the management of our daily lives and activities and priorities, we tend to wing it, reacting to issues and problems as they come up without any context or plan. And the cost of winging it is huge. Chaos, stress, regret, missed opportunities, frayed relationships. All of these are byproducts of lives lived without context and clarity.

Does that mean that families should, or can, completely eliminate stress and chaos from their lives? Absolutely not. Even if it were possible and it isn’t part of the fun of living in a family is the joy of the unknown. To run a family like a well-oiled machine would be to drain the passion and adventure out of it all. But there is plenty a family can do to drastically reduce unwanted chaos and live with greater context, clarity and purpose. In fact, there are three basic questions that every family needs to answer.

The first question he says families need to answer is this:  “What makes your family unique.” I’ll explain what he means in my next post.

Money Making Ideas for Kids – How to Feed Their Passion for Profits

My oldest son, who is 12-1/2, is a budding entrepreneur.  When it snows, he’s out knocking on doors throughout our neighborhood, looking for shoveling jobs.  In the spring, he delivers flyers door to door, looking for mowing jobs.

After a big snowstorm, he can make $20-40 in a day.  But those are hit-and-miss.  He’d really like to mow on a regular basis in the spring and summer, but he hasn’t had anyone take him up on that yet.

Last week, he learned that some friends of his go to a farmer’s market every Friday in their town and sell soft drinks and water.  They make about $40-50 each time, which is a pretty good income for pre-teens.

Their example inspired him to find more ways to earn money.  We checked out our local farmer’s market, but they’re booked solid on their busiest shopping day, which is Saturday, and they don’t allow vendors that just sell soda pop and water.  So, we’re back to square one.

How should we begin to think about and research potential money-making ideas for kids?  I think the process should be the same as that for adults.  We’ll start by taking a good look at his dreams, passions, interests, and the things he’s good at.  Then we’ll narrow it down from there by looking at those things that fit his goals and our family’s values and lifestyle.  And we’ll narrow it further by focusing on those things that will earn the most money for the effort.

If we’re successful in helping him find a business that is meaningful for him, we’ll be setting him up with skills and experiences that will serve him well throughout his entire life.

How do you feed your kids’ passions for making money?  Do you have any ideas of great jobs for kids and teens?  Please share them!