The New Generation Begins to Make Their Mark

I now I am not alone when I wondered what my children would be like. However, I thought we would have more time – "more time" for our lives to change and somehow be "more ready" to help them as they each found their way. But here I am. Not much has changed but our children have. The difficulty and anxiety of nearing 40 has not yet subsided but life does go on -and now, without "more time" to wallow in that mid-life awakening,  I have to confess I am loving every minute of seeing the next generation, our kids begin to make their mark on the world.

For the past 3 years, Olaia, our eldest daughter has been wanting to start a lemonade stand. It all started with me doing my best to explain how family finances work. Jim and I have our own technology startup. This has been good but challenging. There are no sure things. No sure paycheck and a lot of working at odd hours. Our kids all know that we may be at home but we still are at work. We may hear what is going on and get involved but our attention will quickly turn again to work.

"Mom, can we go to Disney?" Olaia asked. " I am sure Jaimito and Javier would enjoy it." she adds trying to ensure her proposal is evaluated positively. She knows that if the activity proposed benefits the majority there is a greater chance for it to pass the parental approval. But rather than a quick "yes" or "no." She got an earful of how everything costs money and mommy and daddy have to work hard to earn it.  Money goes to pay for her school, the house, the cars, and trips to see family.  "The best thing you can do is try to help mommy and daddy by picking up after yourself, playing with your brothers while we work." Olaia, weighing her options, eagerly asked: "Maybe I can work too?!"  "Maybe, " I replied laying the topic for a long rest, or so I thought.


Some months later, kids were at our door selling chocolates for school. Olaia asked "What are they doing?" I explained, "they  are selling chocolates to earn some money for a class trip or activity." I should heard the distinct sound of the gears in her head turning. A few days later, Olaia announced: "Mami, how about I sell lemonade in the park? Kids come they play basketball or run around and get all hot and sweaty. Many of them dont bring water and if the water fountain is broken, I think they would love to have lemonade. I can use one of the tv tray tables and sell lemonade!" "Sounds like a good idea," I loved hearing her plan, still I cautioned "but there are more things to selling lemonade that we need to get and prepare." That afternoon she drew a lemonade sign. Over the years, she has drawn at least three. We also bought some powdered fruit punch and asked her great uncle for lemons from his farm.

Now Olaia is 9 years old. She is old enough to begin to manage an effort such as a lemonade stand. More surprisingly, Olaia has also added a new twist:

limpio2.png"Mami, how about I use a corner of the table for a sign up and take volunteers to pick up trash in the park?"

Her spontaneous suggestion for combining profit making and social responsibility took us both by surprise. Upon reflection it is so much like her. Olaia is a very perceptive, sensitive soul, always mature for her age. She has grown up hearing about her Dad’s volunteer work in prison, preparing care packages for handing out to homeless people begging under street lights and hearing me talk about corporate social responsibility and economic and social development.

I don’t know if she had planned it this way, but her complete vision for her lemonade stand with a community activism angle pushed Jim and I into action.  Her concern for the welfare of the community pushed her good idea to become a noble and great idea. She had a plan and it would be wrong not to endorse and facilitate it. The next day I shared Olaia’s ideas with our neighborhood association treasurer and he not only supported her initiative but vowed to be the first to sign up as a volunteer.  We shall see where this great idea takes us. For now I include the poster ideas Olaia and I were working on to spread the word throughout our community.