Help me name my third grader!

When I started Parent Your Business I had a clear picture in my mind of the various stages businesses go through. Here are the ones I’ve laid out – I’ll elaborate on each of them in the coming posts.

  1. The Squalling Infant is a new business that demands your constant attention.
  2. The Unruly Toddler is incredibly fun but also in constant danger.
  3. The Surly Teen is pushing the boundaries and in many ways, outgrowing you.
  4. The Mature Adult is a business that’s running without your constant attention.

But there’s a really important stage right smack in the middle – the elementary age kid who’s learning and growing by leaps and bounds but still meets the occasional set-back. I admit, I’m stumped for a name that properly expresses the joys and frustrations, triumphs and trials of this stage.

My older two kids hit it in third grade. That was the year they were suddenly expected to do incredible new things. Write in cursive. Multiply. Give oral presentations. Study for tests. I nearly tore my hair out helping them through it. What they were able to do was amazing – and yet, there were times it was clearly obvious they didn’t have the skills, the experience or the knowledge to do what was being asked of them.

It’s so clear in my mind what businesses go through when they hit this – I just can’t quite land on a name I like. How would you describes it? Developing? Dizzying? Confusing? Amazing? All of the above?

E-mail me at or leave me a comment if you have an inspiration!

6 thoughts on “Help me name my third grader!

  1. Brilliant Sarah! So many parallels! Don’t have a name for those middle years but I remember them well (in my parenting AND in my business!). Can’t wait to read more of your wise insights!


  2. Great article Sarah! I’m not a parent, though I have watched many friends deal with their kids’ stages. From a business perspective, I’d use the words Overwhelmed Achiever (even though the achievement part is sometimes in question), or Developing Despite Deterrents, or Clueless and Courageous. None of those fit your model though. How about Growing Grade School-er?

    Looking forward to future editions of your blog!


  3. Awkward Tween!

    Have to learn to:
    Tie your shoes
    Eat your vegetables
    Memorize your family names and address
    Wear clothes that are too big (room to grow)
    or too tight (growth spurt!)
    and get graded on “Good Citizenship”.


  4. Sarah, Thank you for the great analogies of phases of parenting with phases of business growth. If I may share some thoughts…
    What I find interesting about both is how the newness of both infant and start-up make them demanding, both can “nap,” and give you a bit of chance to rest. I think the “adolescent” phases are what catch us more off guard when their demands are less predictable, more urgent and leave us needing to be always at-the-ready–with less control over the what, when, how than ever before. If we nurture them well and closely early on, we may have a better handle on what their needs are later, but no matter what, the surly teenager child or business is individuating–and that’s a huge challenge in so many ways.
    Thank you for this thought-provoking blog.


  5. Oh! And in regard to third graders, they tend to have an amazing ability to embrace the new demands and rise to the occasion. Having worked with all ages as an educator, I find the 9-12 year old possesses the most overall competence you may see in a child again until they are about 24 years old! Seriously.
    In terms of business, I’m having a lot of trouble letting my company grow from this manageable size to the next messier phase knowing how demanding adolescence will be.


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