Lemonade and Problem Solving

little girl with lemonade stand

Having come of age delivering newspapers, shoveling snow and raking lawns, I sometimes lament the dearth of opportunities like this for young people today. These have been replaced by camps, social causes and other junkets, that while rewarding in their own way, fail to teach the everyday problem solving skills to thrive in adult society.

So this week, I was delighted to discover Lemonade Days. Founded by Michael Holthouse in 2007, the event will involve an estimated 200,000 children in more than 50 cities across the US this year. While primarily targeted to pre-teens, this venture is a welcome effort at re-introducing one of the traditional opportunities for understanding entrepreneurship, overcoming obstacles and dealing with failure. (Most lemonade stands do fail, don’t they?)

Having hired and fired people for the past 30 years, I’ve never seen an applicant list lemonade stand, newspaper delivery, mowing lawns or shoveling snow on a resume. But if someone ever does, I’ll probably pay attention. You can earn all the degrees in the world, but those can’t teach you the day-to-day skills to solve problems in the real world. For those, you just have to work the work.

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