What's a "worthy" cause, business owner?

For most of us–and for business owners in particular–the desire to be of service is not unmixed with the need to make a living for oneself and those one employs. Sometimes, for entrepreneurs who are not still beating off the wolf from the door, the cause can take the form of investing in the future. If that’s you, here’s a cause worthy of consideration.

A group called MicroSociety is out there helping teachers turn our children’s classrooms into…well…microsocieties. Literally–with a host of products and games and training materials–they are teaching children what it means to make a living, start a business, pay your taxes, write a business plan, sell and market your products, get loans from banks, etc. Students “acquire thinking skills by making the connections between the curriculum instruction, [the] academic and applied learning standards, and daily life,” according to the program description.

Did you graduate from high school and find that you really understood what you were up against out there? Frankly, I was stunned at my own ignorance–and I wondered how come my parents hadn’t prepared me better. Well, surely it wasn’t anybody’s “fault”–I think that starting after World War II Depression-era parents were trying their best to protect kids from experiencing what they’d felt in the “real world.” (And sometimes I think there’s still a lot of that going on today, too.)

Meanwhile, this MicroSociety is about helping teachers teach our kids to assume responsibilities. If we as parents don’t feel able to do that, we might as well support the schools in doing it. Frankly, I think that many of us who have worked hard to get where we are, would rather go easy on our kids. Maybe it feels nice to give them breaks, let them out of responsibility. But let’s face it: that won’t work for long out in the real world.

The program is installed incrementally. Thus costs can be controlled and expectations (of parents, teachers and kids) managed. If you’d like to know more about supporting this programming for our kids–the future of our businesses–check out their website at www.microsociety.org.

RANKING 89 – You, as an owner or executive of a small or midsize business, may not be thinking quite so long term as this type of program. Or maybe you’re a young entrepreneur and this is exactly what you’d like to see happen in our schools. Either way, if you like the ideal, it’s worth putting your mouth–and maybe a little  money–where it might do some good for the future. Yes, education has tremendous value for broadening our minds, but the world isn’t getting any easier to navigate nowadays. It can’t hurt to give our kids a practical way to read–and/or chart–their own maps.

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