Leadership Lessons My 14-Year-Old Son Taught Me

Leadership Lessons My 14-Year-Old Son Taught Me
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I have done many things in my life and learned many lessons along the way, especially in the mistakes that I have made. I have realized that I have already had many experiences that have molded me into the person that I am, such as traveling to foreign countries with my family, playing sports and living with my sister.

Recently, it was "go to work with your parent" day for my 14-year-old son, Matthew. I brought him to our Toronto office where we focused on final preparation of books and short digital print runs. I had prepared for Matthew to spend time in each department learning how a book is physically made. 

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Image credit: Ken Dunn

When we arrived at the office, my partner, John, suggested that Matthew actually publish a book. We brain-stormed quickly, and decided that Matthew would write the first page -- 250 words -- of content, and the rest of the book with be a combination of day-planner and agenda. I sat the boy down in front of a computer and explained that this book would be his first, and I wanted him to think of a lesson that he had already learned in his life and write about it. 

The following are the exact words, with only minor editing:

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"Looking back, I have come to understand that some of the simplest mistakes have led to the biggest learning experiences. I keep my head up and stay alert all the time, because of the time I received a massive hit that resulted in a concussion while playing hockey. I keep track of important things that I own, because of the time I forget to check my bathing suit pockets before I jumped in the swimming pool with my iPhone. I pay attention to the most basic safety situations, after the time I skinned my knees because I didn't double-tie my shoe. I've realized that the simple experiences are what define me and my future.

I have two choices: I can take the experience, put it to shame and shove it away with all the other embarrassing moments, or I can embrace the mistake and learn from it, so I know exactly how to handle the situation the next time it occurs. I believe that the smartest people in the world are those who take the most horrible times in their lives and learn from them and grow!

It doesn't matter how big the mistake was, there will always be a lesson to be learned. The education that is received from mistakes, or growth as some like to say, will be more valuable than a master's degree or PhD. That's why, when I go out to the world and forget to tie my shoe, take a bad hit or forget to check my pockets, I won't get mad but rather appreciate the opportunity to grow!  I am excited for all the opportunities that I will get in my life!" -- Matthew Dunn, 14-years-old, Toronto, Canada

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