Lemonade stands are cute and classic and summery and make for great photo ops and all of that, but I have to admit -- I never considered them to be viable moneymakers. You know? Especially nowadays, when more often than not kids are stuck shouting, "LEMONADE!!" to people in cars who aren't about to pull over for a beverage prepared by little people with questionable hygiene.
Anyway, 9-year-old Joshua Smith of Detroit has totally proven me wrong with the lemonade stand he set up near his family's house: In less than a week, he raised over $3,000! But that money isn't going in HIS pocket. Nope, Joshua is raising money for his financially-challenged city. Why would a 9-year-old embark on such a philanthropic project, you ask?
Just ... because.
That's right, Joshua Smith decided (rightly) that his city could use a little help, and so, you know, he might as well make some lemonade. Sure, why not?
My first reaction to this story, I'm sorry to say, was kind of a "Hmm, that's a decent amount of dough. Detroit can fix its own sorry self! Joshua should start a college fund!"
But then I realized something: Joshua's parents are much better people than stingy old me because they actually encouraged their son to follow his help-those-in-need instincts. The truth is, most kids have those instincts -- but they're too often DIScouraged at home (especially when times are tight). No, we're not sending money to that animal shelter you saw on TV! We have our own bills to pay!
(Kind of like the reaction I got when I begged my mother to let me sponsor a starving child in Africa. But mom, for the cost of a cup of coffee!!)
Generosity is something we should ALWAYS encourage in our kids, no matter how strapped or pinched or overdrawn we're feeling as adults. The world needs more people Joshua Smith.
Then there's the instant karma factor: Thanks to his attention-getting lemonade stand, Joshua has already been offered a $2,000 college scholarship by the Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation. And I'm sure more accolades will follow.
How do you encourage your kid's generous instincts?
Image via amy gizienski/Flickr