08/26/2016 16:38

What you can learn from a lemonade stand

"S" has been back to school for four days.  She is in third grade. This was the first public school grade I taught in 1979.  I used to tell my students that they were not babies anymore, but they had become the older models of the school. "No more asking to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes", I told the 22 eager faces, " forgetting the procedures, or whining about homework."  They would be required to be on time, line up quietly without incident, complete homework on their own, and of course take the first standardized test that would determine future endeavors!  What was I thinking??  I look at "S" and still see my little baby girl, but now she is talking about getting her ears pierced, helping with younger students, choosing her own clothes, and asking when she will be able to drive!  Someone remarked how much older she looked since last year and I wonder if that same (more mature) look applies to me.  The students go home each year to the lazy days of summer, but return that much taller and so much worldlier than three months prior. I cannot attest to monumental trips or events that would cause such growth during our summer together, but one event was written in the memory book.  "S" begged me to help her  with a lemonade stand.  If one did a market analysis of the profit margin of such an enterprise on my street, they would chuck this idea immediately.  We live on a cul de sac, with no other children. She came up with a ridiculous goal of making $50.00.  Of course the expectation would be that I would provide the materials.  Deciding that this should be more of a learning expeerience ( the teacher in me usually rears its ugly head) we discussed that if she wanted to become a young entrepreneur, her profits would be allocated after expenses were subtracted. She was required to pay for the drink and the cups and I would provide the pitchers.  We chose four drinks ( all sugar free) that were taste tested and gave the buyers a nice choice. Each drink would be sold for 50 cents and there would be no exceptions for family members.  The day turned out to be perfect for selling drinks, but not so perfect for sitting outside. I was always close by in the yard, but not conspicuous.  The temperaure was over 100 degrees with the heat index.  "S" sat outside for two days in our front yard and for two hours at a local park.  Her business was not booming, but it was busy enough to sustain her attention and like the slot machines, she remained in her seat by the random reinforcement of a stopped car.  Neighbors I have never met, maintenance workers and those who wanted to remember the good old days when this was much more common stopped by.  Many contributed to her fund by tipping her.  She waved as each car went by, washed the table after each customer and often was seen counting her money!   After three days (almost heat stroke for me)  and pretty much wearing out the gracious generosity of the neigbors, I quit as a monitor which meant the business was coming to an end.  "S" came close to her goal.  She gave some money to a family that lost their home in a storm, some to a pet shelter, some to the church and purchased a toy with the remainder.  "S' has grown in more ways than the inches marked on the door or the maturity in her face.  Whether I  like it or not, she is ready to be in third grade and is not my baby anymore!





Garden Ridge, Texas