Probably one of the best things my parents did they didn’t so much “do” as “allow”. My older brother makes plans work, and around the age of 8 or 9 he figured he and I could make money (I was two years younger than him) by making chocolate chip cookies and selling them from our dad’s desk at his office. And so we did.
It was work, making dozens and dozens of cookies a few times a week, figuring out the perfect recipe and being consistent in making it correctly, purchasing the ingredients from profits we’d made. We sold mostly from our dad’s desk for $.25 per cookie, and we fulfilled a few special orders for large batches that friends took to meetings. And we made enough money to buy a boat. A real, honest to goodness, goes-on-water-and-we-fit-inside boat. Granted, it was only $300, but it was 12′ long and came with two outboard motors and accessories. The sense of accomplishment stays with me.
How many parents today would allow their kids to do that? I’d lay my 7-year-old sense of accomplishment against any degree any day in terms of what it brought me regarding how I view work, the real meaning of success, happiness, and fulfillment, and what it takes to succeed in life.