As summer is coming to a close and the days are getting shorter, my kids are still asking to do a "Lemonade Stand". A wonderful American tradition rises on the corners of your neighborhood evoking memories of days gone by. We can't just pass by, so we stop by to encourage these young souls in their first entrepreneurial endeavors.
Here in Southern California, our summer heat will continue through September and into October. So it is appropriate for the kids to be asking.
As they squeeze their lemons and bake their chocolate chip cookies, I begin to see God at work. Our lemonade stand brings about teachable moments on character qualities for my children. I recognize subtle opportunities for them to grow in their character. For as in everything, a simple pursuit can help us grow in the areas God has for us.
Here are five reasons why I love to say "Yes" to a lemonade stand and why you should say "Yes", too.
1. They meet our neighbors. Our house is situated on a busy corner with a horse trail and path to the park. So there is plenty of traffic. Just like anywhere, we are all busy. So are our neighbors. We have to make an extra effort to meet them and stay in contact with them. Making cookies and lemonade invites them to come over and say "hi" and take a minute to chat. This offers opportunities for further interaction in the future and helps my children know those around them. These moments require a smile, kindness and manners from my children, creating a teachable minute for my kids.
2. They understand what it means to own something. In a small way, this little lemonade stand becomes their first business. They spend about an hour preparing. They use their creativity to bake cookies to perfection so everyone will want to buy them. After a few lessons from me, they are self-sufficient (I always help with clean up). It takes them minutes now to make homemade lemonade with lemons from our tree. They think up new ways to decorate their stand and how to attract more customers. Painting signs and picking flowers, while grabbing one of my table clothes drives them to be more creative in their endeavor.
3. They learn new skills and brush up on old ones. Owning something means being able to take responsibility and leadership. Not only do they have to smile and be kind, but they must make the right change, which requires math and quick thinking. Sometimes they have a crowd and this demands so many skills from them: attentiveness, decisiveness, and resourcefulness. My children are also learning the art of salesmanship. My dad and my brother can "sell ice to an eskimo", so some of them come by it naturally. However, I notice how they encourage the customers to add something to their order or invite them to come back another day.
4. They are called to work side by side with their siblings. I don't know about your house, but my house witnesses more than a few disheartening interactions between my kids. I ask the Lord for wisdom so often He must be sick of the request. When they are pulled together striving for the same goal, somehow they forget the argument a few hours before and work together. I love to watch them dream up new ideas for cookies or new endeavors, like when they woke up at 5:00 a.m. to do a "Coffee and Muffin Stand" for Election Day. Each day character is built on small moments like these.
5. They are blessed to be a blessing. One of the requirements in our family is if they do a lemonade stand, they are asked to give 10% of their earnings to the church or a charity. We feel this standard will set them up for life as they learn to give right off the top of what they have received. The conversation it brings with it reminds me that we are all sinners. Learning to be generous is a character quality that develops over time as we realize how much God loves us. Every time they want to keep "their hard earned cash", we remind them, we are all "blessed to be a blessing".
A lemonade stand is a simple, but fun way to learn with our children. I love that God gives us every day experiences to learn so much from Him. We don't have to wait for the big moments to pour in our kids’ character. We can embrace the opportunities He gives.
How do you help build character into your kids?
~Jeanna Young - When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!