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Farrah Gray NNPA Columnist
Published: 12 July 2010

(NNPA) - As you probably know, there are two different worlds of businesses operating in America's inner cities – legal and illegal. In many neighborhoods where legal businesses are failing, young people are exposed to a drug-glorifying culture that is thriving. The career path is more common to become a drug dealer and make lots of money than to go to college graduate and get a job or start a legal business.
We cannot manufacture entrepreneurs but we can create the environment and conditions that allow, encourage, and facilitate entrepreneurship.
You have the power. It doesn't matter if you are married or if you are single. You are the single most important factor that can influence your child's growth and development.
The family has inevitably been one of the highest influences on major life decisions, such as determination of a career path.
Your love and support can help put your child on the path to great success. You can teach your child the art of survival and how to solve the problems he or she will inevitably face.
You may not be able to give your child money or connections, but you can give them the values to live by: pride, respect, hard work, preparation, inspiration, the desire to give back and the strength to never give up.
Here are some of the ideas and tactics that you can use to put your child on the path to success:
Plant the seeds of success. Let your home be a place where ideas and inspiration are abundant. Tell your child the following: "You can become and do anything you set your heart and mind to." Let your child grow up believing that there are no limits to what you can do and that anything – and everything- is possible.
Shower them with words of encouragement and affirmation. Let there be plenty of "can do" conversation in your house. Eliminate any and all evidence of overwhelming hopelessness from your home. Remind your children daily that they are destined for great things.
Show them the values of hard work and hard love. Get them up with a kiss as you leave for work. Kiss them as you come home after a hard day. No matter how much money you have or don't have, be a culinary and financial genius and a super parent – and show them how to turn a bag of potatoes, a can of beans, a package of ground beef and a loaf of bread into delicious meals that last for a week. Put TLC – tender loving care into the small things you do no matter how scarce the resources are.
Engender and encourage independence and an attitude of self-reliance. Take them to an all you can eat restaurant and to bring their own Tupperware containers and plastic bags for use as doggie bags. Drive home the lesson that "you always want to have a backup plan". Teach them that there's no one going to change it, so what's the point of complaining?
Encourage them to work and make money. Believe in them and help them taste the sweet smell of success. Teach your child to get out of the lottery ticket mentality and work to make money to support hobbies and the purchase of personal items. Let them start business, work for neighbors, or community-based businesses. Encourage them to be creative and make things to sell. Let them experience the thrill of creating something themselves and selling it.
Great careers and successful lives start with small ideas. Don't be afraid to let your child experiment. Keep your eyes open and your mind and body working and be ready to work with your child.
Children don't always hit a home run the first time. But they'll never hit a home run if they don't learn to swing. Your child may make only five dollars on their first "business".
But it will probably be the most important five dollars they ever make. Seek out mentors for your child. That's investing in your child's future. There are a lot of good people in this world. Your child will benefit from the "Been There, Done That" experience.
Farrah Gray is the author of The Truth Shall Make You Rich: The New Road Map to Radical Prosperity

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