Lemonade – The Tale of a Young Salesman
“Our happiness is certainly mixed in with the tragedies of life. You have to find the lemonade. You have to find the silver lining in the middle of everything that happens in life.” – Chandra Wilson
It’s funny how sometimes you can be driving in your car and suddenly notice a lemonade stand that seems to catch us a little off-guard. Maybe it is the homemade sign advertising the selection of drinks, or perhaps it is the plastic table with resin chairs complete with an umbrella that grabs our attention. I can still recall driving through town and coming across the time-honored tradition of the child’s lemonade stand. I felt compelled to stop and pulled over to the curb for a reason I could not explain. There were no children sitting in the chairs guiding customers to their stand when I parked, and it seemed that the lemonade stand had set business hours. Suddenly, two young children came bounding out of their front door excited to greet what was likely their very first customer of the day. Did I mention that it was 10am when I stopped to check out the lemonade stand?
The young salesman who was likely 7 or so years old took charge of the business matters while her younger brother (who was approximately 5 years old) quickly transformed himself into a very competent Chief Financial Officer requesting the fifty cents before he would pick up a plastic cup from the stack. They offered 3 different drink solutions and I decided it was best to defer to the young business owners as to what their most popular beverage was. I paid for the drink and gave the CFO a tip to split with his sister evenly.
As I walked away, I could hear the delighted screams coming from the front door as the children shared their business success with their mom amidst a lot of hugging and high-fiving between the siblings. These two children considered themselves wealthy beyond comparison in that single moment. It made me reflect on a time in my own life when I defined success and wealth much like these children. I did not come from family wealth, and I certainly started at the bottom of the rung in the real estate business. There had been times in my life when I couldn’t have given the kids the money for the lemonade, and I realized that I was so fortunate to have the opportunity in life to work hard enough so that I could purchase that delicious glass of sugary lemon water. How many of us take the time to reflect on the lessons that we learn when life does not seem to be treating us fairly or kindly?
I imagined how I must have felt selling my very first home when I became a realtor 38+ years ago and smiled at the notion that I was likely as excited as those two kids with their lemonade stand. A lot of people my age complain about the future generations – weary of their work ethic, integrity, or abilities. I came to realize that many of my own friends had lemonade stands just like the one I had stopped at on Sunday morning when we were children. Some became business owners themselves, and I wonder if having a lemonade stand was the catalyst for their love of business. I thought about the newspaper delivery kid who brings the paper to my house, and thought of how many of us had paper routes ourselves. How many of us remember using a bright red wagon to stack the newspapers in to ease the burden of deliveries. I smiled when I realized that this rite of passage has continued for so many generations, and I am certain that my parents and my grandparents worried about the “next generation” as we do today. However, after my inspiring visit to the lemonade stand, I think that the next generation will be just fine. They make an incredibly delicious cup of lemonade!
Brian & Myles McCullough
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