Among many other roles, I am a small business owner. I started my business, not as an eventual cash cow (although that would be nice), not as a tax shelter (though that would be nice, too) but to meet a need: I wanted to develop a one-stop shop for other home educating parents who want to include African-American history as a part of their history studies.
It has been a thrilling ride. I have learned, I have stretched myself far beyond my comfort zone, and I have built relationships that will prayerfully last a lifetime. Building the business has taken me around the country, and my own education—aside from the education I seek to provide others—has been priceless. So when our oldest, whose college minor is entrepreneurship,and I were discussing an article we both read about steering your kids to own businesses, I spoke truth to her when I said that I am positioned exactly where I want to be within the business. I am author and founder; now I just have to find time and space to continue to create.
But, like many small business people, occasionally I get frustrated. Things are not growing as fast as I would like; I get envious of others; I doubt myself when I “catch wind” of someone else creating something similar. Though I know that my work is a God-ordained assignment, I feel inadequate to accomplish what I purpose to do when I sit down. But I digress.
As our oldest began to give her opinion about the article, my first thought was, “She is really learning quite a bit about businesses and start-ups.” I also thought, “She definitely put much thought into forming her opinion; what a well-articulated argument she’s making!” Good. Our college dollars are being well spent. But somewhere in the midst of all she shared, she wrote this:
‘…For example, you may not be a best-selling author on Amazon, but I know that your curriculum has still made it to quite a few other places. Also, you may not directly sell a lot of books, but you’ve still gotten opportunities to speak in online and in-person conferences, get interviews, and write for a lot of magazines. Thus, you are still nationally-known to me, Mom. And lastly, I’m sure that you take joy in being able to educate others on black history and show them things and create other activities that are missing from traditional schools and textbooks…I probably don’t share that with you enough, but I do admire your Blessed Heritage business, Mom, and I’m proud of all that you’ve done from when you started off. Like I said, you’re successful in my eyes, whether your books have brought in a lot of money or not. I haven’t heard anyone say anything negative about your books, so I think you’re going in the right direction.’
You can imagine the gamut of emotions as I read her words, wondering whether she was tearing up on the other end as I was or setting me up to ask for money. Once I read the words 3-5 times, it all came together for me in a simple message: they (our children) watch us. And they learn as much from our toil and trouble as they learn from those moments when we feign to have it all together.
When the back and forth exchange ended, my head was still swirling from such a heartfelt, unexpected compliment in a moment when I truly needed it. Thank you, Lord, I thought, for knowing what I needed even when I did not articulate it. Most of all, I was inspired to keep going, and to commit to finding that much-needed time and space to keep pressing forward. After all, I have people learning from me, warts and all.