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Grub on the Road Food Friday: Lemonade Stands

Work travel took me through Cincinnati, Ohio yesterday. It was a hot and muggy summer afternoon. It was the kind of day made for a lemonade stand. Being a sucker for lemonade, I stop whenever possible.

You don't see as many lemonade stands anymore. The kind in which a couple of neighbor kids get together, find the necessary tools - table, poster board signs, markers to make the sign, cups - and the supplies - ice, coolers for the ice, and, of course, the lemonade mix.

Sometimes a mom or dad will make the lemonade. Even better, the mom or dad will teach the kids how to read the instructions, measure out the mix and add water. The trick is to use as much water as possible to save on the amount of lemonade mix used, in order to maximize profits. You want the lemonade to taste good, but not that good ;-). The amount of ice is also important: the more ice in the cup, the more you can stretch your lemonade mix.

In the old days, you had to measure out the sugar, the amount of lemons and water. Some mixtures were better than others.

Then, it's the divvying up of the labor. Who is going to pour the lemonade?. Who's putting the ice in the cup? Who is going to hold the sign and wave at passing cars? Who's taking the money?

There are a lot of lessons learned by kids, who run lemonade stands.

*Cooperation - the idea that I have to work with someone (s) else to put out a good product, and figuring out whose skills work best.

*Self-sufficiency - the idea that, if I want something, I need to work at it myself.

*Service - in order to earn more, I need to present myself and my efforts as best I can.

*Appreciation - the idea that you will have to rely on others for your success - the parent, the other kids, the customers. Kids learning to say "thank you", especially to persons they've never met before, can't go unnoticed here.

*Confidence - the idea kids can meet new people, and speak to them with an assurance about what they're doing, is an important task. In a world, where we are more and more focused on what's on our phone, the ability to communicate with people face-to-face is a skill that is vital.

These, and more, are all valuable lessons from which kids learn about the value of work and life in general.

For these reasons, and the idea that you're getting a needed product on a hot day, if you see a lemonade stand, stop and buy one. And pay a little extra.

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