Every kid wants a shiny, new car for their Sweet 16th but Dedra Phillips had other plans. Her daughter Nia had actually expressed a desire for a car but the two had also talked Nia’s desire to sell lip gloss, after watching a YouTube video on how to make the product. Cars depreciate but businesses can grow and in time, provide enough capital to buy an entire lot of cars. The decision was an easy one for Ms. Phillips — Nia was gifted Ni’Abri Beauty.
On her Sweet 16 Nia was surprised with a table bearing her image and a brandname, which she and her mother had brainstormed together. There were bottles of branded lip gloss and a functional website. All Nia had to do now was hustle and she could buy her own car. It certainly wasn’t the Sweet 16 Nia had expected but undoubtedly, one that will change her life course for the better. Hustle, dedication, grind, time management, managing relationships and accounting are not skills one will learn driving a car. Running a business, however, will most definitely force Nia to learn all the above.
What Dedra did for her daughter is next level parenting. More than the government or any other influence, parents can have a direct impact on the success and future earnings of their children. Buying cars and clothes will not lead our children to prosperity. For the same amount of a pair of Jordans, we can buy our children simple tools — IG plugins, website templates, startup inventory — that will enable them to build for a lifetime. These are simple choices that we must start making for our children. Nia’s life and her prospects will differ radically from this Sweet 16th, much more than had she received a depreciating asset — a car.
What is the price of a gaming console? How much will the next limited edition tennis shoes cost? if we can afford those, we certainly can afford to set our children up with a small business. Whether the business takes off or not, the more important point is the life lessons they will learn. That, too, is good parenting. As Black people we cannot afford to wait for schools or other institutions to teach our children entrepreneurship and self determination. We must determine that we will teach and equip our children for success.