Homeschool MBA: watch out for these amazing little businessmen

As many of you know, we have been homeschooling the boys on the road. While I started out as the ‘teacher’ it didn’t take long until our acting ‘principal’, my dearest wife, supplanted me in this role. While some may contend, and rightfully so, that Bex is a far more gifted (and patient) teacher than yours truly, I am often left to wonder: Did the students (Matthew – grade 2, Josiah – pre-K and Toby – preschool) surpass their father’s intellect at a slightly faster rate than anticipated?  It is noteworthy to mention that I have maintained my honorary teaching status for a few critical subjects including recess, colors (art), health (potty training), numbers (math), and PE.

Which brings me to the newest course that I have been constructing for the boys: Entrepreneurship 101.  Back in the summer, after fending off multiple requests to buy a new Lego set, our MBA level course came to life.

“Hey Daddy, can we cook up some more of those cinnamon rolls”, Matty asked.

Professor responds, “Sorry bud, you guys are eating us out of camper and home. Kitchen is closed until lunch.”

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Grasshopper replies, “They’re not for us. I want to sell them to the people around the campsite.”

…Class in session.

Matthew, Josiah and I worked together to cook up the final package of rolls, which looked (and smelled) delicious as icing melted over top of their “product”. We stepped out of the camper with Toby joining us to complete the trio in what they fondly refer to as Three Brothers Bakery.

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We reviewed each brothers assignment. Matthew, with gooey treats strategically placed on the plate, carefully held with both hands, rehearsed his lines. Josiah, the money man. And Toby, seated on my shoulders, was ‘upper management’, smiling and waving to potential “customers” as the boys approached each campsite.

Boss Baby and I stood just far enough away to hear the interactions as the boys approached their first ‘prospect’.

Matthew softly asked, “Good morning. Would you like to buy a warm, fresh cinnamon roll?”

“How much do they cost?” the grey-haired lady replied.

“Uhmmm, 50 cents”, young Matty answered.

“I’ll take two please.”

After Josiah received payment, the boys sprinted back, almost spilling the other 6 rolls off the plate, and showed “the mini boss” the team’s very first George Washington.

While the boys were off to a great start they received friendly declines at the next 5 campsites. I asked my sons if they wanted to call it a day but perseverance won out as they decided to press on.

It took about 25 minutes, but the boys sold the remainder of their inventory (well they technically ate 3 but who can blame ’em;). The trio seemed to almost float back to our camper with glee and soon quarters danced with excitement on Josiah’s bed as los hermanos celebrated.

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And while they thought class had been dismissed their proud professor made his way back to their room with notebook and pencil in hand.

“So what did we learn today, gentlemen?” I asked.

Matthew and Josiah walked me through each sale, the total money they had collected and their respective part in cooking and distributing the product. We then worked through the numbers: cost of goods sold ($1.50), profit ($5.75) and their hourly earnings rate. Lastly, each of the brothers provided their feedback on how they felt everything went and if there was anything they could improve in the future, while Daddy furiously scribbled down their thoughts.

One of the ideas that surfaced was to find out what feedback the customers might have. After writing up a few surveys, Matthew strapped on his helmet, mounted his bike and rode the half-page forms back to each of the 5 campsites where purchases had occurred.

img_0526Since the opening of Three Bros. Bakery, the boys have sold product in 4 different states including Wyoming, Montana, Wisconsin, and New York, and have even ‘opened up’ an international office in Nova Scotia, Canada in August. Most recently, one of the boys received an A+ for his ingenuity by asking the following question,

“Daddy, do you think you could make some extra coffee in the morning that we could take around to sell with our rolls?”

At this point, I’m not sure who is more excited about learning, me or my students. But either way, we are having an absolute blast in this educational pursuit of excellence.

And while they haven’t yet nailed down their online sales platform without infringing on Insomnia Cookies business model, I believe the boys may just find a way to get a sweet cinnamon roll soon delivered to your doorstep.

Happy Thanksgiving friends. img_7277

Here are a few of our favorite items to use while we bake:

 

Who Knew? Erasing Big Apple Stereotypes

Just after Labor Day, our family spent a week in the greatest city in the world, New York where it was a sweltering 97 degrees every day.

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I don’t know who the woman is in the picture above.  But, she looked as scorched as I felt.

sweltering.

sticky.

full swamp body at all times.

did I mention, hot.

We camped our Airstream at a national recreation site in Brooklyn, which just so happened to be the first airport built in New York, Floyd Bennett Field. It was pretty unique to park Birdie right on the runway overlooking New York Harbor. It made things moderately affordable to actually stay in New York, but it did take us about an hour to get into Manhattan each day.

Despite the distance and sweltering heat, we had an amazing time! I know a lot of us, myself included, have strong stereotypes about New Yorkers. I found that each one of those stereotypes I previously held has been completely demolished.  Seriously, people, New Yorkers are the best. The. Best. I did a little Google search on NYC and friendliness.  I was excited to read that we weren’t the only ones being surprised by the inhabitants of this incredible city.

Here are some moments that clinched NYC for one of the kindest cities we have visited thus far:

Tobias ran his head into a countertop at a newsstand. Within 30 seconds, we had an ice pack from the owner. He was so legitimately concerned about our 2-year-old son it felt as if we were family.

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Matthew left his backpack with a Gameboy in a visible pocket for about an hour on a park bench.  When we went back there was a woman sitting there guarding it. She saw Matthew leave it behind and wanted to keep it safe for him. How thoughtful was that?

One afternoon, we were walking near Time’s Square. We made it about 3 city blocks before we had to stop to cool down. I went to buy the boys some ice cream, but it was super expensive (bc New York). So I chose to buy one for the kids the share. Well, Tobias had a full tantrum over this. But just then, another New Yorker random act of kindness. The man who worked at the stand brought over another ice cream for Toby. He actually gave Tobias the ice cream that was his for that shift. On such a hot day, I was touched by this thoughtful gesture.

Ok, so we have raved about New Yorkers. But there are a few, who we love to hang with NYC or not. These folks were amazing hosts and let us stay with them in their Manhattan apartment for several nights.  It was an awesome sleepover party for us (sorry about our kids, loudness, and messes Col, Brandon, and Bo!)  They showed us so much about their life in New York and we loved every minute of it.

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Food, Shelter, Safety, and Yoga

Hello Haverherd Friends,
Here is a recent post from my yoga blog.  I thought it had some relevant crossover points with our typical community type posts.  
Be Well, 
Bex

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The reasons why people find themselves homeless are as varied as the trees you find in the forest. Given that people experiencing homelessness are often reduced to focusing on meeting their basic needs: food, shelter and safety, it is a wonder to me that anyone would find their way to a yoga class.

However, one beautiful woman that I met at SOME (So Others Might Eat), a community-based organization that assists the poor and homeless in Washington, DC, exemplified the importance of a yoga practice that is accessible and specifically designed to take place in the jail system.  She shared with me about the impact of a program she took part in offered by Yoga District while she was in a local jail.  While practicing yoga, she learned and clearly now understood how to connect with the present moment, the impact of exercising to reduce stress, and the joy found in simply finding activities and people that we enjoy.  As she shared her experience with me, she was so present and connected with a sparkle in her eye. I was in the moment with her.

While there was nothing particularly special about my conversation with this woman at SOME to set it apart from any other conversation. But for that brief moment I’d like to believe we connected as humans are supposed to, seeing and honoring each other’s light.  Namaste.

Calls to Action:

  1. Do you know anyone at Yoga District in DC who could connect me with an instructor for the jail program? Right now, the woman I met is not connected to a yoga studio and I have been trying to reconnect her with her instructor from Yoga District.
  2. Would you like to support yoga for the underserved? Check out my upcoming class in Gainesville, Georgia at Flip Your Dog Yoga Studio on October 29.  Let me know and I’ll set you up.

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rELATIONship

Have you ever wondered why it says “Let us make man in our image” a mere 26 lines into the most read book in all of history?

I often times find myself thinking about this seemingly subtle detail. It doesn’t say “Let me…in my”.

The significance and value of relationship has existed since the beginning of time. And it is just as important today as it has ever been.

When is the last time you stopped everything going on around you and spent a few precious moments with someone you love? Phone turned off, no screens or sounds vying for your attention.

Just you and another person

I find myself sometimes struggling to ask that person how they are (really) doing. Listening to their answers without a thought or concern about what may be coming up next on my calendar. Are we asking the follow up questions that bring one, or both, of us to give up on the fight to hold back tears?

I believe a big part of what we’ve been doing over these past 14 months, while driving around in a tiny house on wheels, is trying to practice the long lost art of relationship.

I have recently been reminded of the need for and power of relationship by two individuals who have left everything behind from their lives in the US.

Eight years ago, Will courageously uprooted his life as he and his wife moved to the far reaches of the globe to care for those in need. The exact geography of where Will’s family has resided doesn’t really matter, doing their first year of marriage in a Mozambican hut, birthing their first son in the Philippines, or their 2nd in the Dominican Republic. What matters is that there has always been one constant throughout their journey.

Relationship.

The way that he and Tara do life with those around them is an inspiration. There is something beautiful about the simplicity of breaking bread and looking at the person across the table from you, asking the tough questions and truly listening to how another human being is doing. It is something I believe we all have gotten away from in the action packed string of days that we call ‘life’.

The past four years challenged Adam and his family to leave it all behind and relocate to Costa Rica. His elaborate strategy to serve consists of the following:

See a need, and meet it.

Walking with local Ticos to pick up a bag of groceries, repairing a roof, or giving a backpack to a kid in need has always been a pathway to open up a conversation. And from there, relationship.

Now the focus on doing relationship has nothing to do with where Will or Adam live. Nor the title that people have assigned to them of being “missionaries”.

It has everything to do the intentional choices they are making each day to invest in the human beings in their midst.

I am sometimes saddened when I see a person at the airport who is flying across the country to a funeral. I realize the importance of community during these times and that grieving with others is critical.

But what if we purchase that flight now? What if, for no reason at all, we travel distance to be with a loved one. For the simple reason of doing life with them.

We only get one chance at this merry-go-round called life. Live it to the brim with those you love.