The very first article I wrote for Associated Content was as a result of research I had done for a client brochure. That article, Saving The Economy Through Arts Education is not the one with the most page views, but it is the one that most closely reflects my ideas on life, business and parenting.
In that article, witten just about two years ago, I make the following statements:
“With the current dissolution of familiar corporate structures, down-sizing, lay-offs, outsourcing, and just plain close-outs, our world is facing a challenge that is unprecedented. The labor force, which is now faced with creating their own futures, know that they cannot depend on a corporation or job to survive. It is therefore imperative that individuals find creative ways in which to survive while restructuring and re-designing there once secure, job based existence.”
My conclusions were based upon observations, as well as my own personal journey of re-invention. My professional existence had become a lifestyle described as an Entrepreneurial Parent. The idea of the Entrepreneurial Parent was encapsulated in the a book written about 10 years ago and coincidentally – included yours truly as one of the parents profiled in it. The book and the group of parents featured in it, were representative of a growing trend in our society of about 10 million (when the book was published) . With so many families attempting to find a way to survive and provide for their children, couples are finding that childcare – and the expense of going to work – can find them “spinning their wheels” with little time or money left for family. That syndrome is what begets the growing need for work-family balance.
Up until a few years ago – and the creation of the home-office (SOHO), very few people had options. It was imperative that both mom and dad commute to work for hours after dropping off little “sue” of “billy” to school or daycare. The problem with this is that when the little bundle of joy needed to leave school because of a fever, stomach ache or just plain anxiety, the office/work environment – just could not find a way to factor that into their bottom line. So eventually, there would be burn-out on the part of the employer or employee and families would be forced to make a choice. Someone would have to make the home/children priority – or run the risk of depleted relationships. The challenge of making that choice was generally – LOSS of income, or at least that is what the argument seemed. So, creative thinking – using available resources coupled with parental talent would generally – give birth to a home-based business or what used to be called cottage industries.
Think back to the days of “Little House On The Prarie” when Charles and Caroline worked together on the farm raising their children. Charles might have gone to town to take care of his “manly duties” but it was probably Caroline – who baked her famous bread recipes for him to wholesale to the Olsen’s Shop in town. This dynamic is what created a supply/demand chain – and ultimately spawned family enterprises. In this same way, the current economy is beckoning every person and parent to challenge themselves – to find a creative way to generate an income and satisfy childcare needs. With the rising cost of daycare, before school and after school care many second incomes – seem to only be making their way back into expenses – so the question becomes, if one person can stay home, generate the net income after expenses – what would really be lost if your household became a “one income” abode?
This brings me back to the concept of Arts Education and the importance of right brain development in this “new global economy.” In an age when the decline of major corporations seems daily, we might be finding proof that left and right brain thinking were unevenly matched and thus the need for creative problem solvers – or entrepreneurial minds immediate.
Referencing my previously mentioned article, I believe that right brain activity is enhanced by entrepreneurial thinking, in the same way that arts education cultivates because it:
- Helps stimulate and develop the imagination and refine cognitive and creative skills as well as critical thinking.
Teaches children the skills necessary to succeed in life, including developing to informed perception; articulating a vision; learning to solve problems and make decisions; building self-confidence and self discipline; developing the ability to imagine what might be; and accepting responsibility to complete tasks from start to finish. (Source: Americans for the Arts).
As a person that was raised in an Entrepreneurial home, my parents always had some sort of business either on the side or fully supporting the family. The concepts taught in this sort of environment are invaluable – not just to the parents but to the children as well. Aside from creative problem solving, involved parties learn flexibility, exploration and security in the idea that there are no mistakes – just learning opportunities. When children or team members understand that there is safety in “mistakes,” they are less anxious, more willing to share ideas and thus provide healthy think tanks for daily solutions – not just during crisis mode.
So, in these very tough times, I implore each and every one to see the possibilities and the opportunities. In spite of how rough the road might seem, seize the moment to strengthen and apply new skill sets to improve quality of life.
Begin thinking “out of the box” – use your right brain and imagine what things would be like without the invention of cars, airplanes or the internet. Then keep in mind that diamonds are lumps of coal formed under pressure. Allow the pressure to bring forth new solutions, new life and precious new gems.
This post was inspired by Saba, Ink:The Life and Times of An Entrepreneurial Parent.
Until next time – Here’s To You, ’cause – You Rock!