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Boys Will Be Boys

Beily Paluch

It’s hard to predict what our sons will be up to next — starting a successful business in second grade? Building a family-sized tree house? How to help your little men become better entrepreneurs, cooks, and builders.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The little men in our households tend to view the world not in terms of form and beauty, but in dollars and cents. While schools have strict rules against commerce within their walls (as they should), running a small, supervised enterprise at home can teach boys about responsibility, profit and loss, and halachos of business, not to mention values more important than money. When our basement tenant moved out, he left behind cases of fashion jewelry. “Keep it. Wear it. Sell it,” he said. “I don’t need it.” With a family of boys and one fashion-clueless mom, we didn’t have much need for the bangles, charms, and earrings. But we do have a public school down the block, and hordes of children and their parents stroll past our house every day at 3:00. “Let’s make a sale,” said my son. And so he did. For several weeks in a row, my sons ran an outdoor boutique every Friday afternoon. They priced all the jewelry at $1 to $2. Then, as courteous salesmen, they helped customers find pieces to suit their taste and style. They did brisk business with the schoolchildren and their escorts. They were also delighted when a relative paid for some trinkets, but they let their sister and our housekeeper have some for free. I was proud of them. They were making money, but more than that, they were learning about courtesy, kindness, and sharing. When conducted in the right spirit, a boy’s natural inclination for independence and breadwinning can be channeled into a rewarding experience.

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