Last Saturday, I was busy harvesting microgreens and tending to plants before heading to the Arroyo Grande farmer’s market. I started feeling intense timing pressure to get it all done. I could feel the stress building up in my head, and I realized suddenly that I couldn’t possibly do it all – I couldn’t be expected to handle all this before the market. I needed my CEO, 11-year-old Colin, to help – and fast.
Before I thought at all about the impact on him, I called to him in the house and frustratedly yelled, “Colin, I need your help on Saturday mornings before you see your friends, before you get on the computer – I need help to make this business happen.” I was annoyed – I wanted him to read my mind before I even asked. Truth be told, I was feeling sorry for myself. Unsupported and abandoned. And I let that out on him.
He did jump when I yelled to him, and he was immediately helping prepare for market. I could relax on the market timing, but then I shifted to feeling uncomfortable about how I had handled it.
Trouble is, that’s not how we talk with each other. We’re not yellers and not quick to anger, and we like to talk with each other respectfully. Later I told Colin, “hey I think next time I’ll talk with you about my need for help the night before. I’ll give you more of a heads up.”
He smiled and said that would work for him. I love feeling connected with Colin, but balancing parenting and projects and business is not always perfect. The truth is, I’m very business-focused and he’s focused on being a kid and dipping his toes into the microgreens business when it feels good.
Honestly, Colin is a lot like many adult CEOs I’ve met. They’d rather play golf or go to cocktail parties than waste away in the boardroom. Colin’s CEO status is more of a helicopter view, but he does touch down once in a while to help out in the trenches. I just want to keep respecting him like I would an adult CEO, and I have to trust that my kids will keep returning that respect.