Solving Problems, 1 At a Time Isn't Enough

I think that all of us can agree, there are a lot of problems in the world. Some, of course, are higher priority than others. don't get me wrong, today we live in a world that is more incredible than any other generation through technology, innovation and modern comforts. But, there are still human need crises that need our attention such as homelessness, illiteracy, war, illness; Man made problems that have come from these modern developments, such as plastics in oceans, air pollution and climate change; not to mention day to day hassles of keeping my iPhone charged, getting stains our of my favourite shirt and keeping my house clean.

If you have a long "To Do" list like I do, then perhaps you have a tendency to tackle the easier ones first; build that momentum up and hopefully take on the bigger ones "Later", whenever that is....

When looking at the world around us, listening to the news or scrolling through my Facebook feed, I can't help but think that the world can sometimes takes this approach as well. I can buy blinds with a remote that makes them go up and down automatically, buy booties for my dog's paws and even have the luxurious option of sitting in my car while it runs on a track and a machines washes my car **touchless**, yet we haven't figured out a way to get clean water to 3rd world countries, and in some cases, even in parts of North America such as Flint, MI. It seems off balanced, no? All of these incredible minds and millions of dollars in spending are being utilized to make our every days lives even more enjoyable, easier and certainly more fashionable.

We seek to teach our students that, rather than complaining about it or chatting with friends about what a mess the world is in while enjoying the luxuries around us, let's find a solution and take immediate action to see where we end up and then do it all over again. As we don't want to be hypocrites, at Build a Biz Kids, we try to take on the same approach, but not all positive contributions are a direct, head on course to providing clean water to more communities.

We believe that each and every one of us have special skills and talents that can bring incredible change to the world, as well as incredible fulfillment to the individuals providing the solutions. But this is key! While some can naturally play every sport out there with a good degree of skill, others have 2 left feet but, instead, can take a computer apart and put it back together again. Some might have struggled through school and even failed a large part of science and math class but once triggered by a surging desire to make positive change and contribution, all of the sudden their limitations in math are no longer an issue (Thomas Edison, who developed one of the first light bulbs, was one of these people).

Where I believe we go wrong, in many ways, is by asking the wrong questions of ourselves. Instead of asking, "how can I make a positive difference in the world?", the question should be, "based who I am when I feel happy, what I am driven to learn more about and that I would be excited to execute on, that could positively effect the world?".

I would like to introduce Kelly & Desiree. They started Ruben's Shoes. "Ruben's Shoes believes that every child should have access to an Education.
They believe that all children are the same and every single child around the world should have access to the same opportunities, regardless of where they were born or where they live."

60 million children around the world are not able to attend school. One of the reasons why, is shoes. Aside from the incredible long walks many of them have to take each day to get to school, once there, they are not allowed entry without a proper set of shoes. For many families, shoes are an expense they can't afford. Kelly met Ruben in the Dominican Republic and he completely changed her life. She saw the extreme poverty they lived in but also felt the love they gave her while she was there. She decided that day to help. She didn't know what the solution was right away, nor understood how big her mission could take her, but she DID know the answer to the question above.

  • Based on who she was, she couldn't stand by and do nothing.
  • She was driven by the mission to help this family, and others like them
  • She was willing to learn the logistics and mechanics of helping Ruben and families like his
  • And WOW, was she excited to get started with this mission to positively effect the world

Kelly and Desiree started Rubens shoes with just the small thought of collecting shoes and sending them to the Dominican. In just a short time, these little shoe drives became enormous containers of shoes being shipped each year.

Now, they have managed to build an elementary school and have a high school that is due to complete construction in the Dominican in the fall of 2020.

If Kelly had asked herself, "how can I make a positive difference in the world" while working as an Insurance Broker with Desiree at the time, just think of how much time she would have spent spinning her wheels trying to figure it out. Maybe she could try recycling more, maybe she could volunteer a few times a week. But that would have been the wrong question at the time. Instead she opened herself up to an experience, met new people, and had a kind heart which led her to Ruben.

So, let's bring it back to where we started in this article. There are a LOT of Problems in the World. How much time today did you spend thinking of those without drinking water? Kids without shoes? Did you notice plastic in the ocean and spend an hour trying to figure out a solution? No? Don't worry, me neither. Most of us have our own day to day problems we are facing or, in a sad way, we have grown accustomed to hearing about these issues, seeing them but not really looking at them. We see a story on Facebook and get angry or sad for a moment, wish them the best and them keep scrolling onto the next one. We play our small part and maybe pick up litter off the ground if we see it but to tackle it in a bigger way, it's not at the top of our To Do List.

You might be saying, enough with the shame game! What is Build a Biz Kids doing about anything? Well, here are the answers to that same question above.

  • Based on who we are, Entrepreneurship is what we know and love. EVERY child deserves to learn these skills earlier than college
  • We are driven to learn what we need to do to provide this education to students, as young as age 7, through until they graduate high school
  • We are MASSIVELY excited to execute quickly on reaching 100,000 students directly by 2035 with these skills
  • Our desire is to instill awareness & Social Entrepreneurship skills in children & youth so they can view their world differently, utilize their raw creativity to seek new solutions, and tap into their natural emotional connection they have towards topics that matter to them. We look to develop 100,000 NEW problem solvers in the world who are equipped with the tools, support and skills to take action on their ideas.

http://BuildaBizKids.com 

Inventor's Paradise is a NEW Summer Camp this summer, 2019, that tackles problem solving in a BIG way. In this 1 week, full day camp, students tackle problems in their life, their friends and families, and even the world! But then they take ACTION! They develop prototypes and test solutions over and over again to understand that nothing is ever perfect, but it's always a start to making things better for people around them.

Summer Camps are registering now for Summer 2019
https://buildabizkids.com/summer-camp-schedule/


Teamwork Makes the World Work

Think of anything in the world that has brought goodness, innovation, salvation, or anything else of the like, that was done with just one person. Think hard.

It's a quick answer, nothing. Yes, one person might have been the catalyst, the voice or the idea, but no "one" was able to do it alone.

Martin Luther King Jr, yup, he was amazing. He was the voice, the idea but he couldn't have made any change without his supporters, political figures (of good and bad) or the media, as limited in reach as it was back then.

How about a more modern example. Elon Musk. Yup, he's the voice, the idea, the vision, but he has a HUGE team behind him making the ideas become a reality.

Yes, learning entrepreneurship holds so many key skills that are critical to help any person excel in life these days, such as public speaking (often done alone), innovation & problem solving (often starts alone), and Resiliency (so important to have this within each and every person). But if you truly want to bring ideas to light, create a movement or have people around the world utilize your innovation, you must also learn how to work within a team; Not an easy task for many of us.

So how do you become "good" at teamwork? How do you learn how to play well with others and utilize a team to run faster and jump higher? The same way we do everything. Exposure, Practice, Reflection, and Practice some more.

The earlier we can expose children to working in teams, while offering leadership opportunities, the sooner they can learn to "switch" between the two, and yes, there is a definite art to the "switch". And "Exposure" isn't a one time thing. The more often they are exposed to teamwork situations, the more perspective and "Practice" they will earn. But don't forget about Reflection. Without this, the rest is a waste, truly. This is where you are a critical partner in this. Se below

When working in teams, and when practiced well with plenty of reflection, you can actually learn to be the BEST leader in a team environment.

  1. You Learn Empathy in a Team.
    If you have ever had a "bad boss" then you know how defeating it can be. Sharing ideas becomes less than exciting when the "leader" creates an environment of negativity or shuts others down quickly. This is where reflection is key. Often a bully is a bully because they were bullied themselves and did not take the time and space to reflect on that experience. For kids, it is easiest to want to lash out as revenge. It is up to parents, teachers and coaches to help them reflect with space so they can turn those experiences into lessons of empathy, rather than a demonstration of an "appropriate way to act".
          * How did this make you feel?
          * What would you have rather they said to you?
          * What would you do in that situation?
    Ask questions and allow them the space to answer and connect the dots.
  2. You Feel Confident in Your Weaknesses Within a Team.
    If you become a leader of others too quickly, you can often feel a heavy weight on your shoulders. You may feel like you should be a jack of all trades and know the right answer to everything. The reality is, you are probably really great at some things, and less so in others. When in a team, you get to seek out that which is diverse and unique about one another.
    Would you want to build a house with only a team full of plumbers? That's not too helpful. But, if you are a plumber and others on your team are framers, electricians, roofers, and so on, you can quickly learn that others bring massive value you can be thankful for, while also recognizing that the "house" couldn't be complete without you as the plumber. Leaders don't have to know everything. In fact, the strongest leaders know what they are weakest in and are A-OK with it. It is their job to create a healthy environment so that everyone can do what they do best.
  3. You Can Learn to Take Risks Within a Team.
    If you are the leader of a group, or a one-man-show, it can be more difficult to take risks on a new idea because if it fails, it's all on you. But in a team, you can take a risk by asking someone else who is "stronger" in that area to help, advise or contribute to what you are thinking. If your idea seemed like a good one in your head but you didn't think through the logistics properly, since it isn't your area of expertise, wouldn't it be nice if Jessica were there to help walk you through it? As a leader, who is usually in a position to make a final decision, if you don't look to your team for guidance, one bad, ill-informed decision can have devastating effects on you, the business, and everyone on your team.
  4. You Can Learn Leadership By Being Led By Great Leaders
    We have all had that one bad boss, but what about that great one? Or perhaps they were a great teacher, coach, parent, etc. What made you feel like you were contributing? How did they handle disagreements? Decisions? Before jumping into a leading role, watching others can help you gain perspective on the type of leader you want to be.

Sports are great team settings, so are group projects at school. But what if the stakes were higher? What if your child could get practice by working with a new group of peers to build a business and compete with another group doing the exact same thing? Tensions could get high. Leaders may emerge. Teamwork will have it's ups and downs. But no matter what, in the end, they will reach their goal of launching a business and raising money for a great local cause.

That's the basis for our Lemonade Stand Challenge. A 1 week, full time camp for students just 7-12 years of age offered in July & August. With that kind of diversity in age, incredible things can happen. Democracy is often utilized for decisions. Highs and lows are experienced with each new module they embark upon in their launch. But we didn't forget about reflection. Each day they have plenty of time to bond and be friends with fun in the sun!

This summer, seek out camps that encourage teamwork that works towards a goal. Where the kids are their own leaders, not the camp councilors, making "big" decisions and finding one another's strengths through the process. But then be sure to help them reflect on their experiences each day. Ask them questions and see what insights they have drawn. These skills and insights will fuel them for decades to come.

For more information or to view our Summer Camp Schedule, Click Here