Here in the South honeysuckle is in bloom. I remember as a child picking them and sucking out the sweet nectar they had inside. My kids love to do the same and are so excited when the honeysuckle finally begins to arrive. The scent is heavy in the air and they pick as many as they can off the vines. Each time they are outside they head first to the honeysuckle to indulge in its sweetness.
This year they decided to try something a little different. They wanted to share their honeysuckle with others but at the same time make some money. So, they set up a stand at the end of the driveway with a sign that said, “Honeysuckle for sale” They weren’t charging much… 25 cents for 25 blooms, 50 cents for 50 blooms, and 75 cents for 75 blooms. I suppose they thought no one would want any more than 75 blooms because that is where their pricing stopped.
I had to laugh. There is honeysuckle everywhere in our neighborhood. I didn’t think that many people would want to buy some. But, I hated to squash their capitalist dreams of making money and starting their own “business”. I figured it would be a good lesson in business and finances. They needed to find something that the people needed and desired and sell that… not something they had readily available in their own yards. They would get to experience how the “market” actually works.
As their first (and only) client came to the driveway, they grew excited. Mr. Marvin is an elderly neighbor who is wheelchair bound. When he comes outside he rides his scooter. He only lives across and diagonal from us and he easily drove his scooter up the street to our driveway. There he looked at the kids’ sign and said he sure would like some honeysuckle because he loved them as a child. There was a problem though… he didn’t realize they were selling it and he had no money on him. He told the kids that he would return home and get a quarter and come back.
The kids looked at each other and said, “Well, it’s your lucky day! Honeysuckle is free today!” Mr. Marvin smiled grandly and told them he couldn’t wait to try some. They handed him a handful of honeysuckle and he was on his way home.
It’s funny… I thought that the kids would learn a completely different lesson by selling their honeysuckle. I was ready for them to learn that if you want to be successful in selling something you need to have a market for your wares. I didn’t expect that honeysuckle sales would be brisk since everyone has it readily available for free in their own yards. I expected that they might be disappointed as they sat there at the end of the driveway.
Instead, they came away happy from their venture. They learned that kindness and generosity are much more important than making money. Giving to others provides you a sense of satisfaction that money can never give. Making someone smile and being a good neighbor is much more valuable than the quarter he may have dropped in their hands.
They came in excited and talking about how they couldn’t wait to give away more honeysuckle. Making money is important- we have to pay bills and buy the necessities of life (and it’s nice to have things we want!)- but people are always more important than money. The kids learned today that kindness, generosity, and love are things that can’t be bought but can definitely be given away. It’s a valuable lesson that I’d much rather they learn and incorporate into their everyday lives.
I think these kids are going to be pretty darn successful.