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crushing American exceptionalism

In October 2007, my small-town community of Grangeville had a shot at breaking out of stagnation. Sadly it devolved into the same old “community leaders” making sure nothing changed. BUT that isn’t what I’m writing about here. That 12 year old post is here: Idaho – Community Vision. The numbers may have changed slightly; were I betting I would say for the worse.

A startling revelation came to us from the facilitator at those meetings and stuck with me:

40% of American 12-year-olds expected to create their own businesses;

to be self-employed and even employers as adults.

That number drops to 4% by high school graduation.

You and I can see it happen. We may not know his number to be EXACTLY RIGHT, but we sure as heck know it is close…. and disgusting.

40% expect to be innovators and leaders in 6th grade

Six more years of punctually moving from room to room at the sound of bells, training in recitation and obedience, with drugs prescribed for non-conformists drops that number to 4%. The remaining 96% expect to trod the rut handed to them by the governmental, educational, corporate megalopoly.

Waving at the grand display of trophies ringing the Grangeville high school gymnasium in 2007, David Beurle asked what would we get if we encouraged kids to develop their creativity and entrepreneurship as much as we did their athletics? Perhaps instead of sending athletic teens away from our community, we might retain clever young business people and leaders.

US Census Bureau statistics say small businesses provide 67% of the first jobs, 55% of the innovations and constitute 99.7% of the employers in the USA. According to David Beurle, 80% of new jobs in rural areas come from new startup businesses or expansion of existing small operations. Dreams of attracting a large employer to provide jobs in Grangeville are unrealistic long-shots, but providing an environment that encourages small businesses and entrepreneurship is not only realistic, it is within our power to accomplish.

But that is not what we do.

School, media, politicians and bureaucrats guide us into subordination and obedience. Thoughtfulness and innovation that once made this a great country has wasted away into conformity, socialism, fascism and acceptance of our assigned roles in life.

We break these chains one person at a time.


While the best ideas come from the hearts and minds of the young entrepreneurs, here are some examples that work for many.
50 Small Business Ideas for Kids