What are (your) kids into?


Model plane

From little things big things grow.

Sadly, I don’t have children.

But we sure can talk about you and yours.

I’d like to know if your offspring are (likely to be) part of (or interested in) your business.

I’m also keen to hear if you were inspired young to do what you do now.

Grass roots

I began cutting neighbours’ lawns for cash as soon as I could start a mower.

Forty years later, I wonder:

  • Does such commercial enterprise beat in the hearts of today’s youth?
  • Has our society become ‘too dangerous’ to permit its expression?

Personnel best

Inspiration to be a Human Resources Manager hit when I was 15.

I was applying for casual xmas work at Myer.

The recruiter was a poised, immaculately groomed (and to me omnipotent) woman in her early thirties.

As she read from my original, hand-typed [!] resume, I found myself wishing for something unexpected: one day, some way, I’d end up on her side of the interview desk.

Though I ultimately found HR wasn’t beer or skittles, this tale shows that kids can get big ideas early.

Were you ever thus inspired?

Teen spirit

I have scant contact with children, yet I realise many have merit and purpose.

So what are your kids into?

Do their tastes transcend video games?

Could any of their current pursuits be parlayed into a money spinner down the track?

Or are your descendants already telling you how to run your show?

Youthful quest

Winston and I were pondering this blog’s failure to engage young readers.

He promised to do his bit, so I put it to you:

Would you like to see your progeny (and those of other readers) in this forum?

Could we perhaps facilitate their commercial ambitions somehow?

Or should business kids be neither seen nor heard?

I’m keen to hear from boys and girls, mums and dads, employers, educators, advisors and anyone else who’s interested.

If children are our future, we might as well make the most of them.

So please share your ideas, thoughts and memories.

Because for once, it’s OK

to talk out of



| Founder & Senior Writer – The Feisty Empire

  • As if we needed any more proof that the good-old days of a job for life are gone …


    If I had a child, I’d call her Mika (Japanese for ‘new moon’). I’d raise Mika to make her own way in the world without relying on big corporations for a living.

    How about you?

  • Hey Paul, I could write a thesis if I answered all those questions today :)

    I have kids and two are old enough to be relevant to this post. Both show a love of the written word and an interest in business (they have thought of many money schemes) so maybe they will one day follow or join me. My eldest is old enough to be thinking of career options – and none are writing, though.

    None of my kids is caught up in video games (social media and ABC Kids games on occasion, sure!) and have varied interests – most of which will help them work but not necessarily provide the direction for work. I do get some help in the business from them occasionally. We haven’t yet reached the point where they will ‘know better than me’ how to run my business but no doubt they will direct me soon enough :)

    It hasn’t occurred to me to share this blog with them. I think they could be interested in the content and discussions, but am not sure they’d be motivated enough to actively visit the site. Sorry Paul but you are not the hottest new band or actor so your pull has some limitations… Give them 5 or so years and my answer could be different – my eldest is only 14 :)

    • Dear Tash, your response is SO what I was hoping to garner! :)

      Any time you want to post a thesis here, I’ll buy the stockshots (though you probably have the odd family snap lying around).

      As usual, your description of Planet Hughes is fascinating.

      No offence taken re my personal brand. I can’t even get my dogs to follow me round Victoria Park these days! If, however, your young ones ever deign to visit, they’ll get a mighty warm welcome for sure. Best regards, P. :)

  • Oh, and as for my dreams when I was young? I did want to write – business writing wasn’t in my universe though so writing books was the aim.

    My biggest goal for a while was to write a book (whilst still at school) so that when a teacher discussed it in class or gave one of those ‘what did you think the author meant when…’ questions, I could stand up and say ‘no she didn’t! She was just writing what the character did’!

    • Double bonus points! What a lovely vignette, Tash!

      At school, I used to love being given an ambiguous picture and told to write a creative story about it. Somehow, my protagonists invariably managed to die … (Must bring that up in my next session.)

      Many thanks! :)

  • Childless myself, I feel ill qualified to speak here. Although surely our wee bairns should be out playing in the park, rather than glued to a smartphone? Unless, in so doing (with the smartphone), they end up way smarter than the likes of us, and inherit the earth. Eek. Like you, Paul, I believe the children are our future. Teach them well yadda yadda yadda.

    • It’s so weird revisiting the urban bushland I used to inhabit as a child. Not a nipper to be seen.

      And at xmas, no more new bikes racing up and down the street. Just a steady bleep bleep bleep bop brrr mmmbuzzclick from behind curtained house windows.

      The only open-air ankebiters I see these days are the ones grinding public works into dust with their skateboards (while their dedicated skate parks lie idle).

      Send ’em all back down into the mines, I reckon! That’ll learn ’em:


      Are there any youngsters out there who beg to differ? 😉

  • Daniel White

    Twenty-two year old reader here.

    I grew up a part of a family tree who (apart from my great-grandfather, who i sadly never got to meet) never had much in the way of career aspirations. No real goals or anything. So needless to say, it made finding my own way and path very difficult.
    I never knew what i wanted to do with the rest of my life career wise, the thought of being stuck with a career i could potentially grow to hate was frankly scary, and unlike so many out there I’d have loved to have had a parent with a career that could have guided me into what they do. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, so i spent a number of years trying to figure out what i wanted to do with my life, but nothing solid ever really came to me.

    I got close to studying towards being a primary school teacher (as i work great with kids) but then nothing became of that. I was interested in authoring (which still interests me, but i feel my writing skills are lacking) but my own self-esteem quelled that brief goal.

    While i was in NSW (Victorian here) staying with my (then) girlfriend for a short time, i had a long and productive conversation with her father (who holds a pretty successful government job). He suggested a few careers that he feels are quite important, one of which was Accountancy. I had always been interested in the field but dismissed it as i had thought i was definitely not smart enough.

    When i got back home I decided that I needed to just get out there and try my best. The only one who could change things for myself was me. So i enrolled into the Certificate IV at TAFE and achieved really good grades, which honestly surprised me quite a lot! I start working towards the Diploma on the 23rd and then next year it’s off to University for the Bachelor. It’s such a great feeling to have something to work towards, a career that I’m looking forward to starting.

    I’m probably straying a little too far from the topic at hand but reading this just got me thinking about it all over again.

    When i have children of my own (and i look forward to it) I’ll always give them the option to join the industry that I’m a part of, so that they have that guided option i never did. But should they not be interested I’ll definitely support them in whatever goals they set for themselves.

    It’s what i wish i had!

    • My sincere thanks, Daniel, for your extremely generous share.

      I’m sure other copywriters in here will concur that your writing is better than you may think. Anyone who can wield ‘quelled’ with authority gets my vote! :)

      I’m so pleased things are working out for you. You’re about as bang on topic as you can get.

      Sounds to me like you have a fabulous attitude towards parenting. My only advice for those who want kids: don’t leave it too late!

      I do hope you’ll keep us posted on your exciting journey – and absolutely anything else you’d like to share.

      Best regards and thanks again! :)

  • Georgina Symonds

    Hi Paul

    You have compelled me to join into this discussion. As you know I have 2 girls and even though they are both young I do have aspirations that they will be enterprising and I look forward to guiding them and helping them find their courage to follow their dreams in their working life.
    To be happy in this life is a quality a number of us chase for so many reasons, and happiness in ones working career is probably right up there in the pursuit of happiness for many.
    At this stage my elderest wants to be a vet, she is 9, and I bet many of us remember that career choice from years gone by! Her hero is Mr Bondi Vet himself! My youngest who turns 5 Monday and starts school next week is just relishing in learning and her biggest decisions are does she marble paint or race round outside on her scooter! So it is with great delight that I stand next to my gorgeous girls and remind myself what a privilege it is to hold their hands while they take the journey into choosing their careers.

    I wish them both complete happiness and hope they follow their dreams and importantly do what they love…..

    It will be interesting to chat to them in 15 years and hear their thoughts on the paths they choose to take.

    • Dear Georgie, how wonderful to hear from you! Believe it or not, your beautiful children were firmly in my head as I wrote this post, but I certainly didn’t want to put you on the spot.

      And now you’ve joined us with a wonderful opening comment. I’m thrilled to have enticed your response and fervently hope to repeat the feat.

      Thank you so much for sharing this glimpse of your beloved family with us. Your girls are very lucky to have such a caring, switched-on mum. Fond regards, P. :)

  • PAUL,

    Greetings from rural Australia.

    Daniel White is a very impressive young man. And will go far in his life. He has all the right attitudes and beliefs. And higher self esteem comes with increased self confidence. Which comes from simply stretching yourself and doing things. Which he’s doing in abundance.

    All the best to you, Daniel!

    I’m also childless. Quite happily so.

    I have no contact with young children but quite a lot of contact with teenagers. And find them to be very ambitious and engaging.

    One young 13 year old girl in my rural town has a squillion part time jobs after school. She has quite clear intentions that she’ll be a millionaire by the time she’s 30. And listening to her speak, I’m in awe of her focus.

    All the shops in town are manned by teenagers after school. Perhaps being a farming community, teenagers are used to having to work at home on the farm.

    I personally think we put too much pressure on today’s children to have a vision as to what they want to be by the time they’re 18. These young guys and gals will live to be 100. Surely they have time to do what I call screw around a bit before they get serious about their life’s vocation. And no one has a life’s vocation anymore. Not even the professions. They’ll probably have several vocations under their belt before they die.

    Do agree about kids missing in action on the street. As a Baby Boomer who grew up with unparalleled freedom, I grieve for the loss I see in today’s children. Their life is restricted by fear. Perpetrated by their parents and other members of the adult world that influences them.

    I grew up in New York City. And spent my teenage years in a small town in southern Virginia. And worked in Washington DC before I came to Australia. And yes, I got myself into some tight situations. Some a bit scary. A few quite stupid. But that’s what stretching the boundaries is all about. And my self confidence in my ability to confront awkward situations is far above most others. And I am a tad bit fearless.

    I earned my first pocket money at age 12. Babysitting. I lied about my age at 13 to get a job in a local department store on Saturdays. You had to be 14. And I’ve been in constant employment since then. I worked my way through university in the dining hall on campus and did other odd jobs. Worked in a factory rolling ribbon on spools on the 4pm to midnight shift during my summer break. And had a job before I finished university.

    But have never had a vision about what I wanted to do other than I knew by the time I was 15 I had to own my own business one day. Primarily because I never enjoy being told what to do by other people. And I could never shake that rebellious streak in me. So in 1983, I opened the doors to my first business.

    And I’ve been deliriously happy ever since. Regardless of the tortuous road that every one in business has to travel.

    Every generation is ambitious. In their own way. My biggest fear is that the children of today, who are wrapped in cotton wool by their parents, are the leaders of tomorrow. And somewhere, somehow, they have to acquire the skills to lead.

    As always, Paul, your post is thought provoking.

    Best wishes and take care,

    Carol, Ironing Diva❤

    Carol Jones
    Interface Pty Ltd
    Designers of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover

    Ironing Diva’s stories are at http://bit.ly/TheIroningDiva

    • Daniel White

      Hey there Carol,
      Just wanted to thank both Paul and yourself for all the kind words. It truly means a lot to me, thanks so much!
      Paul is a lucky man to have such an excellent and supportive reader base, that’s for certain.

      I’ll be sure to contribute to the discussions here in future.

      Take care!,
      Daniel White

      • Onya, Daniel! I’m reminded every single week how lucky I am. It’s readers like you and Carol and all the others that make this forum what it is. Come back soon! :)

  • What a week-crowning comment, Carol! You surely rank among our most generous contributors.

    I felt like I was sitting by your fire, hearing a wonderful story. Such variety, candour and detail! :)

    I’m glad to hear your thoughts on Daniel. [Are you hearing this, Mate?!]

    As usual, Carol, you’ve left us far richer than you found us. A thousand thanks for your considerable efforts. Best regards, P. :)

  • Here’s another line of inquiry that struck me last night:

    Having never heard the term ‘food dream’ it seems almost everyone has one these days. The condition, first heard on Masterchef, seems particularly prevalent among legal professionals. Do you know why this is so? Do you have a food dream? Did you have it before watching Masterchef? Does it stem from dissatisfaction with your current employment, or something else?

  • I dreamed of eating cake last night. No, wait, I actually ate cake, and then I dreamed that I was thin.

    • You were in my dream. I wanted to eat cake, but it was all gone. You were laughing at me. Beside me was a flame thrower. It was empty. I tried to fly but got snagged on some tea tree bushes. Isn’t that always the way … ?

  • Malcolm Owens

    Despite the best laid plans of mice and men, children will follow their own path in life. Sometimes because of, and sometimes in spite of, parental influences. I have 3 children and each is pursuing a path unique to them. As parents we provide the opportunities for an excellent education, a loving supportive home environment and encouragement to be the best they can be at whatever they want to be.

    We are lucky to have the resources to provide a private school education (great for two of the three and perhaps counterproductive for one) and the support for them to go onto University; one did, one didn’t and the third is still in school.

    Encouragement, support and guidance is the currency of success. It rarely turns out how the parents thought it would be but that’s OK. I love taking the journey with them. This in itself is somewhat unique as many kids are left to their own devises. We have always taken an active part in our children’s education and life choices being careful not to be prescriptive.

    The result is they value our opinion and ask for it regularly. They know they have a solid support system and backup so are never alone in facing the challenges of the world. They are of course encouraged to do it for themselves, they must learn the ups and downs but knowing that they have a support network allows them to fly.

    One observation from a seasoned campaigner; look to the parents and see what path the child follows. This is far from definitive, more an observation. My friends who are tradespeople have seen their children follow them into the trades; not the same as dad but trades. Those with parents in business also see their children working in business. Also the children of entrepreneurs are often looking to start a business. There are of course many exceptions but it is something I’ve noticed across a broad spectrum of friends.

    Often is more what you do than what you say. You are a role model whether you like it or not. So you owe it to your children to be your best.

    • Hi, M. You’re doing better than you know. I wanted kids, but got Jack Russell terriers.

      On the flip side, their casually laid plans usually trounce the best laid ones of the mice who dare enter Empire House.

      It all comes out in the mix.

      I’m so grateful you’ve joined the kind souls granting us such generous glimpses of their family lives. It never ceases to astound me how wonderful our readers are. With best regards and deep thanks, P. :)

  • G’Day Paul,
    I see some wise words from Malcolm O. I have four children, six grandchildren and another due next week.
    My eldest daughter’s married to an Indian and my son to a Japanese girl. Our eldest grandchild, a girl, will be 19 next month.
    I dunno much about raising children. But I do know that our lot all like each other and get on very well together.

    One of my favourite riddles is this:
    Q. Why do grandchildren and grandparents get on so well?
    A. They share a common enemy

    My father started a business in the Great Depression because he couldn’t get a job. My eldest brother started a business when he retired after working for ages for a huge multinational. All sorts of Noones, uncles , cousins and others have all sorts of businesses. There’s quite an entrepreneurial streak in the family. It’s just a pity that we’re not better at it!

    I’d really like to be able to offer something deep and meaningful and profound Paul. I cant. But I can say that Julie and I believe that we’re very blessed to have children, their spouses and grandchildren whom we like and who like us. That may reflect poor judgement of character. But you grab what’s available with both hands…….like a one point victory over Collingwood.

    There’s an Australian female comedian-I can’t think of her name-who sums it up this way.”We have five children .And we’re going to keep trying until we get one we like!”

    One day our children will be perfect like us. Probably take all the fun out of life.

    The only advice I ever give about parenting is this: enjoy your children; they only get one chance.

    One final question. Why do children have to wear jumpers when their mother’s cold?


    Best Wishes

    • Such a warm and heartfelt comment, Leon! The insight, wisdom and humour you bring keep the heart of this blog pumping. I’m running out of ways to say thank you on this post, so I’ll just say it. THANK YOU! :)

  • G’Day Paul,

    Just send large sums of money and an Essendon premiership. That’ll do for the moment.

    And make sure you have fun!

    Best Wishes

  • Speaking of giving kids a project and letting them run with it: