I Cashed Out My 401(k) to Help Your Kid Stand Up

In late 2016 I started a Facebook page called Stand Up Our Kids. Then in August 2017, I incorporated Stand Up Our Kids LLC. As a father of three kids under eight, I briefly observed our elementary school methodologies, and one huge thing stood out to me: Kids are sitting down ALL DAY!

I quickly became fascinated with the idea of giving every single kid in America the opportunity and freedom to stand up in their classroom. I became so obsessed that I designed my own Youth StandUp desk and cashed out my 401(k) to purchase the first inventory. I am taking pre-orders on our website and now I’m running a functioning business after 16 consecutive months of unpaid work.

If you only look at global problems with just childhood obesity and the misdiagnosis of ADHD amongst kids, my idea sounds pretty damn reasonable. If you have not seen a trending outburst of communication regarding the dangers of sedentary behaviour you’re literally not paying attention to the world around you.

I do not need to be a scientist or a doctor to tell you that sitting down all day is not good for you. However, we make millions of children sit down on their butts all day at school and home.

My company selling Youth StandUp desks to schools in Colorado and Florida; I’m literally selling these out of my garage. To be completely honest, this undertaking is not about money. I already make enough money in my day job as a sales person. I’m hungry for impact. I am concerned about impacting our society and culture, and my brand is a tool that I’m using to create that impact. When I create more awareness I know this purpose-driven movement will grow like wildfire. The result is contagiously positive… which is enhancing a kid’s education experience with the freedom of choice.

The name of the brand explains everything in four words that are easily understood. When I say “stand up our kids” I mean it. We should want to stand them up. We don’t need to stand up for them. They need to stand up for themselves. Kids need to get off their butts and stop being taught. Instead, they need to stand up and learn. There’s a huge difference.

Physically standing up throughout multiple times in your day has been proven to be healthier for you, and that’s all good. But when you give a student the choice to stand up at their own discretion you empower them and provide ownership with that one decision opportunity.

Kids need to get off their butts and stop being taught. Instead, they need to stand up and learn. There’s a huge difference.

Every educator will tell you that in order for a student to maximise their education experience they must have ownership in it for themselves. Nobody does well being forced to do something. Giving kids that ownership every single day, when they walk through the door of the classroom, is one of the most powerful things we can do as community leaders, parents and teaches.

I am not asking the school districts to change their curriculum or vote on new policies. I’m just asking that my kids have the freedom to choose their own learning space. I want my kids to know this is their decision, not the school’s decision. It’s an opportunity to decide instead of another assignment.

You can bet your life savings on me making sure all three of my kids have the freedom and choice to select their own learning space every single day throughout their education experience.

I understand every kid is completely unique and different, but I can speak anecdotally about what is happening in my own life with my son. He has had his own standup desk for four months and his improvements have been dramatic. As a second-grader, our two main concerns right now are literacy and behaviour. In that time span, his reading went from 20 words per minute to more than 80 words per minute. His behaviour went from being the kid that could not sit still to a leader in the classroom.

This movement is not a trend or a fad. This movement is as real, and as human, as it gets. I’m just a dad with ambition. I’m just a dad willing to stand up. I’m just a dad willing to take risks to help kids all across this country. I take great pride in my property taxes because I see that payment as my right to speak up and stand up for how we educate kids. And I find this topic to be something worth standing up for. I truly believe in the deepest wells of my gut that I can give every kid in this country the opportunity to stand up in their classroom.

This article was previously published on Stand Up Our Kids, a movement committed to giving every American child the choice to stand up in their classroom. It has been republished with permission.


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