By Jon R. Theriault, CFP®, CKA®, MBA
Although I appreciate the return of structure and routines when our children go back to school, I can’t help but reflect on what a wonderful Summer I had with my family. When the days are longer and time slows down, I’m grateful for all the new and often spontaneous experiences we get to share with one another. Special things can happen when a child’s limitless creativity takes front and center, and I simply stop to listen. I’d like to share one such experience I recently enjoyed with my 10 year-old daughter, Rebecca (Becca).
Becca and her friends really enjoy playing with slime. Yes, sticky, gooey, colorful slime. Last Spring, she started watching YouTube videos and experimenting with making slime at home. We didn’t give it too much attention, other than making sure the mess was cleaned up after each slime session. And if you don’t know what I’m referring to, just ask a child in Becca’s age range about it.
But something happened a couple months back as we were talking before bed time. I asked her to tell me why she found slime so interesting. I can’t recall every word she said, but I will never forget the enthusiasm with which she shared her thoughts. I learned about the different kinds of ingredients, how they changed the texture, all about her favorite colors and additions, and how she had worked so hard to perfect her slime. She was passionate, I just listened.
And in that moment, I had a choice. The logical part of me nearly kissed her on the forehead, thanked her for sharing, and walked out. But she awoke the child in me, so I asked her to tell me more. She went on and on, sharing all her various techniques, including things she had come up with on her own, and suggesting that her friends preferred her homemade slime over what they could buy in the store! Again, I just listened.
Then, one kid to another, I asked if I could be her business partner. I offered to front the money, but said she had to take all her ideas and put them down on paper. When I came home from work the next night, not only had she done what I asked, but she had made in inventory list of all the supplies we needed, looked online to find the best prices, put together a marketing strategy, and even came up with company colors as well as options for our logo and business cards! SlimeTime was born.
We spent an afternoon shopping for supplies and talking about our business, including how to get the word out and what we would do with any profits. From there, Becca set herself up for production in our garage and went to work. We even attracted our first investor as my 7 year-old daughter, Kate, wanted in. She took $5 from her piggy bank to help fund our chocolate chip cookie promotion. A couple weeks later, and once Becca had carefully made 50 containers of her amazing slime, we were ready to go.
After two and a half hours on a beautiful Saturday at the park, and as a testament to her perseverance, Becca sold every single container. SlimeTime was a success by every measure, and a fun memory was created that will serve us both for years to come. And true to her kindness and generous heart, she chose to set aside a significant percentage of profits to go to the children’s ministry at our church. Mission accomplished.
I share this story not only to brag about my incredible daughter, but as a reminder of what can happen when we slow down and take time to engage in, and actively listen to, one another’s ideas, goals and dreams. What my daughter and I accomplished together reinforced just how powerful ideas can become when they are balanced with the right mix of passion, encouragement, planning and teamwork.
Clients sometimes view their financial advisor as an obstacle standing between their dreams and spending money. Some are. But as a company value, RS Crum chooses to elevate the importance of listening such that we can help create a path designed to help our clients reach their goals. Even if it means we need to view things through the optimistic eyes of a child every once in a while.