There are moments as a father when you feel especially proud of your kids. It may be when they say their first word, or take their first step. Maybe it’s their first award in school, or the first time they stood up for what’s right in the face of peer pressure. These are all monumental moments in the parent/child relationship.
I recently had one of these moments and I wanted to share it.
My son loves comics. Not of the superhero variety, but more like the Diary of Wimpy Kid variety. He’s 9. In the last year or so he has begun to create his own characters and draw his own comics. They are pretty funny…for a 9 year old. But what impresses me the most is his excitement when he gets a new idea and his dedication to finishing the story.
Other people are taking notice, too. His 3rd grade teacher in school this past year gave out a personalized award for each child in the class, and he was awarded, “Most Likely to be a Comic Illustrator.” It was proud moment for the both of us.
The thing that really touched my heart was that recently he decided that he wanted to sell his comics to the public. He even made signs that he wanted to hang up around the neighborhood with an announcement of its pending release date. I chuckled to myself but was impressed with his confidence.
Many kids will start lemonade stands and make signs, but my son wanted to setup a comic book stand to sell all of his original comics. The idea seemed interesting, if not for any other reason than to teach him some important skills and keep him occupied during a long summer. However this idea dissipated. Maybe I should have been more enthused and made him follow through.
Last month, while we were planning our younger son’s birthday party, he announced that he was going to sell his comics to the guests at the party. Since my new part-time job is in a print shop, he asked if I could make copies of his original artwork. I agreed and told him that there was a fee that he would have to pay in order to have the copies made. Many parents may say that I was being mean or that I should have chipped in the $1.60 to make the 10 sets of his four page comic book. But as a business owner, I see it completely differently.
I want my son to strive to do whatever he is passionate about, but I also don’t want to hand it to him, because then it will not be rewarding in the end. It will also not be realistic and could set him up for disappointment as he gets older.
Anyway, we agreed to sell his comics for $.50, which after making the copies for $.16 per comic, meant he would get $.34 profit. I also taught him that $.16 per comic would need to be set aside to reorder more if necessary. That left $.18 profit per comic.
I was so proud of him as I watched him overcome his timidity and ask our friends and family if they were willing to buy his latest comic. He ultimately sold about half of them but it also taught him a valuable lesson that I hope will stay with him as grows. If you are passionate about something and put in the work to get it off the ground, it will pay off, maybe not in the moment, but in the long-term for sure. Ultimately, it’s a lesson about the value of creating your own opportunities. It’s a lesson in the value of story-telling. Story-telling is the greatest skill a person can have, and as my son continues to create original content, he will discover the power of story and how he can create his own opportunity.
As I watch him sort of emulate what he sees me doing on a regular basis, I am also reminded of these lessons as I prepare to undertake phase three of my real estate business, “Discover Springford.” In all honesty, it would be so much easier to beg people to hand me their business. Why am I developing and producing a 25-30 minute online TV series and podcast? Because I am a storyteller. Always have been, always will be. I didn’t always know that about myself, but as I look back on my life, whether it was through my active imagination as a kid, or prolific song-writing in my teens and early 20s, and now as an actor, I love telling stories.
And because I am passionate about story-telling, I want to share other people’s stories with the world. With Discover Springford, I am using something that I’m passionate about to build my business rather than selling my soul by being a beggar. I ultimately want to create my own opportunities rather than be dependent on other people or the market to dictate whether I succeed or fail. Either way, I’m going to do it the only way I know how, by telling stories.
Go to tv.discoverspringford.com to subscribe to the Discover Springford channel.