We were sitting at the breakfast table today when my youngest daughter spoke up.
“Daddy,” she said, “I think I’ll have a lemonade stand this summer. I need to make money.”
Which is a really awesome thing for a seven year old kid to say. She’s showing initiative, creativity, problem solving, respect for money, the value of work. I mean, clearly, we have a budding entrepreneur on our hands, right?
Problem is, as I’ve mentioned a few times, we live way out in the woods. WAY OUT. We get maybe 15-20 cars past our mailbox PER DAY, and that’s pretty much just our neighbors. And you can’t see the road from our house. It’s a bit of a hike. Not exactly what you’d call prime real estate for a young purveyor of quality lemon-based libations.
Yet, how could I subtly steer my 3rd grader through the minefield that is supply and demand, start-up costs, customer acquisition, overhead? And let’s not even mention the soul crushing rigor of health ordinances. How could I gently impart those golden nuggets of parental wisdom without squelching that glorious go-getter spirit of hers?
In my best fatherly voice, I posed the most obvious question, “Why do you feel like you need money, Dear?”
“I want to buy more stuffies, of course,” she said, glancing askew, as if I were suddenly a raving lunatic.
Before I could control myself, I heard my mouth blurt out, “More stuffed animals? Don’t you have enough already?”
This was a horrible mistake on my part, you understand. She glared at me, through me, her eyes blazing like laser beams. Her eyebrows bunched and knit, her hair somehow fluttering about her head in an unseen wind. Without opening her mouth, a wailing sound arose, slowly increasing in both pitch and volume, not unlike a violin being played by a power drill in a tornado. I swear I heard glass breaking. In the distance, a baby cried.
Luckily, her older brother chimed in just in time to save me. “Trust me, you don’t want a lemonade stand here at our house,” he said nonchalantly. He has very little chalant.
“Oh, yeah? Why not?” she demanded in a tone reminiscent of a drill sergeant who quit coffee and smoking earlier that day.
Immune to her posturing, he continued undeterred. “Look, you won’t get any customers on our road. You’ll go out of business in the first week.”
How proud was I? While his old man floundered and sputtered, my darling boy captured it all in two short sentences. He was so wise for his age. His response was so succinct, so gentle in letting her down easy. I take full credit, of course. That apple didn’t fall far from this tree.
“Oh,” she shrugged with uncharacteristic resignation. “I see,” she said. Then, walking toward my bedroom, she muttered, “Guess I’ll just go back to looking through Dad’s pockets.”