People often ask Will and Jada if they felt uncomfortable putting their kids in the family business, but Will says he's not hesitant at all. "We worked with my father growing up in the family business, and what happens is your kids get to see you in your best light, where you are most proficient," he says. "Your kids get to watch you at work, how you interact with people, how you talk, how you deal with stress. ... I'm totally comfortable with them getting to work and being in the world and understanding the nature of production, producing something for the world. I think sometimes in America in particular we hold the kids from that experience of work and the nature of producing in the universe."
Another common question among parents is what punishment looks like in the Smith home. "That's one of the really difficult struggles because we don't exactly believe in punishment, per se. We believe in restriction, that you can have as much freedom as you can handle," Will says. "You can cut your hair. You can put stuff on your wall. And as soon as you do something that is detrimental to yourself, and when you can't be trusted with your freedom, then you have to be pulled back. But it's not about punishing you for what you did—it's about protecting you from the potential damage that you could do to yourself."
Published on May 17, 2010