The Bean knew exactly what his problem was. Legos cost money. A lot of money. And even though he was relatively new to math, his skills were sharp enough for him to figure out that it would take him a very long time to save up for that Ninjago set on his meager allowance. So the kid decided to get creative.
Driving up to the house one evening, I spotted the Bean and Sprout marching on the sidewalk, a few of their old toys scattered on the front lawn yelling, “Toys for sale! Get some toys! Only one dollar! Toys for sale!”
While I appreciated their moxie, there were a few holes in their plan. The first being that there is very little foot traffic in front of our house. The second is that it was a good bet that anyone who might be passing by probably wasn’t going to want a beat up truck or tattered doll.
For nearly 20 minutes, the kids paced back and forth yelling to get the attention of people who weren’t there. The Bean looked dejected as he trudged inside for his bath. Billy Mays he was not.
A few days later the Bean had another idea. He realized there was one thing a kid could do to earn a few bucks in the suburbs—a staple of childhood so familiar that it’s practically a cliché—lemonade stand!
A day was picked and a menu was planned. WonderWife™ asked the Bean to write a shopping list of all of ingredients they might need to sell lemonade and cookies. The kids helped juice the lemons and while they painted signs, WonderWife™ baked. To counter the foot traffic problem, WW™ suggested a spot a few blocks away in front of a post office. We posted the time and location of the stand on Facebook (because we are modern parents and both helplessly addicted to social media), loaded up the car, set up and watched as the kids went to work.
The Bean held up his homemade sign and danced around to attract customers with the natural aplomb and charisma of a street performer. He flipped the sign and shook his ass shouting, “Lemonade! Delicious lemonade!” despite that there was no way the cars zooming along the street could hear him. Sprout was a little meeker in her efforts, but following her brother’s lead she too hoisted her sign and yelled her little voice hoarse.
A few friends stopped by to patronize the sale, but most of the customers were folks from the neighborhood who couldn’t resist the sight of two sweaty kids hustling in the hot Valley sun. The generosity of our neighbors amazed and warmed us, as more than a few people stuffed extra money in the till telling the kids to “keep the change”. WonderWife™ and I helped pour glasses and make change when the math got a little too hard, but the kids did the majority of the work. And nearly two hours later, their supply of lemonade was depleted.
Over a celebratory meal of cheeseburgers we helped the kids count their profits. Incredibly, they each earned enough to buy the toy they wanted. We took them directly to the toy store so they could have the experience of handing over their hard-earned cash in exchange for prizes. Clutching his new Lego figures, the Bean declared it “the best day ever!”
I was incredibly proud of my kids, and made sure I told them so as I
tucked them in that night. They worked hard and learned that earning
money isn’t easy. But it can be extraordinarily rewarding—especially if
you’re the parent of two entrepreneurial kids.