My son wanted to start a business, his sister had started one as a homeschool project https://www.etsy.com/shop/SamanthasTreasure/about so, like a typical younger brother, he wanted what she had. He was 10.
He had recently been on a Mission Trip to Guatemala through Faith Project International with me and his heart had changed and had grown for the stove building project and Mayan people there. He wanted to help more and go on another trip to Guatemala. I told him that if he started the business that he could use some of the money to donate back to Faith Project International. He could choose to save the money he earned for another trip to Guatemala in a few years.
We brainstormed about what he could do for a business, I suggested a lawn mowing business, since he had successfully been mowing our grass for the last two years and was doing a really good job. He said he wanted a product and a website, like his sister…of course. I tried to steer him away from this, since I knew this would require more work on my part and I had just finished helping his sister get hers up and running in a way that was good business practice and that she could then run on her own. He would not let go of this…so, we brainstormed further. Since his sister had cornered the artsy crafts made by herself market and the jewelry made by Girls with Vision in Africa and crafts really were not his gig, I came up with the brilliant idea of “dirt”.
As you can imagine, I was met with a frown and that dumbfounded look, of, “Seriously?”. This was followed by the even worse expression of reality, that screams, “Oh no, you are really serious!”. Which, ofcourse, was followed by the verbal outcry of “NO WAY, I am not selling dirt.” I explained, that, it was compost and that people really loved compost for gardens and flowers and since Mom had started juicing fruits and vegetables, I would have a lot of healthy waste to contribute to his compost pile. He was not buying in, however it did get his mind thinking a bit and he leaned in, just a bit.
I said what about herbs, you grow them, dry them and then put them in a food processor to chop them up. I will get you some jars. I excitedly told him that we already had a dehumidifier that Dad had bought to make his Beef Jerky from 4Rivers Beef Brisket and we had a hanging drying rack in the laundry room. My excitement was not yet inspiring him…and then it happened.
I mentioned the Monarch butterflies and the caterpillars we had in our backyard and that he could sell caterpillars in containers, like the butterfly man at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market. His interest perked up…and he was finally intrigued, he took his elbows off the counter, removed his hands from his cheeks and stood up straight. I had his attention now and he was listening.
I wish I could say that it was all his idea, but the reality is that starting the business was his, I just helped him along to accomplish that goal with the resources that we already had readily available. We already had herbs and a butterfly garden. Since I had made an original investment in the purchase of the jewelry from our Missionary friends in Kenya for my daughter to start her business, I told my son that I would invest in a compost bin and some additional herbs and Milkweed for him…if he promised to work hard. And he did.
He has since added Monarch Butterfly notecards with all the photographs that we have all taken to his online store. https://www.etsy.com/shop/EriksGarden/about/ had his first purchase of the “Life Cycle” Butterfly pack from someone in Maine. This lit his world on fire. In two months he sold $80 worth of herbs, caterpillars and notecards. He was able to send $20 to Faith Project International.
It is winter now, so business is slow, but it is the perfect opportunity for him to work on his required year long research project, yep, you guessed it, on the Monarch Butterflies. His butterfly garden is a registeredMonarch Watch Station and he routinely tags the butterflies he raises with a tiny sticker and records them on a spreadsheet that is sent to Monarchwatch.org. This is how Dr. Fred Urquhart unlocked the mystery of where the Monarch butterflies from the east side of the Continental Divide in North America and Canada actually migrated to when tagged butterflies showed up among millions of other butterflies near Mexico City.
Coincidently, while my son was working on his research project, he figured out that Guatemala, where he went on his Mission Trip, is a migratory destination for the Monarch Butterfly and the rapid deforestation that is occurring there was a major problem for the Butterflies. My son, realized that the Mission Trip that he went on, also impacted the butterflies, since the stoves burned wood more efficiently and this helped reduce the rapid deforestation, which helped the butterflies to repopulate and do what God created migratory Monarch Butterflies do. Again, this lit his heart ablaze. He felt an even greater sense of purpose and passion for his business and project.
God helped my son to connect the dots and He planned our steps that this would all happen, so that my recent heartfelt prayers for my son’s heart to grow and mature in love for His creator and the world He created for us would be answered and He would be glorified. The Metamorphosis had occurred.