An interview with Elon Musk’s mother

In interview for The Economist, Natasha Loder interviews Maye Musk, mother of three children: Elon, a world-famous inventor, Kimbal, a tech and food entrepreneur, and Tosca, a film director. The full article is linked below, but these snippets tell the story of how these three were raised.

“Maye has run her own nutrition business for 45 years and has been a model for 54 years. Maye did not hover over her children, schedule their lives, read to them or check their homework; indeed, they learned to forge her signature to sign off their work. She was hands-off, just as her parents had been.

“Her business, run from home, provided her children with training as budding entrepreneurs. The children all helped out: Tosca remembers writing letters for Maye and answering the phone. “It really helped us to get a sense of independence as well as understand work ethics,” she recalls.

“Perhaps because they lived in Africa, perhaps because it was a different era, perhaps because their parents were busy with their careers, the young Musks’ childhood had more than a pinch of “Just William” or “Huckleberry Finn” about it. Led by Elon, the brothers created home-made rockets and explosives. They raced their dirt bikes so hard that Kimbal fell into a barbed-wire fence. They walked door to door at night in a dangerous country selling Easter eggs at a scandalous mark-up.

“By today’s standards, she gave her children an outlandish degree of freedom to take risks, extraordinarily little supervision and made no attempt to shape their interests or to determine their futures. They made adult decisions at an early age, and even though the family was separated often, the bond between them remained strong.”

Find the rest of the fascinating interview here.