Yesterday was a steaming hot Sunday at the farmer’s market. I laid my spinach, cilantro, and zucchini on the table and a beautiful young girl took my produce and proceeded to weigh it.
The chocolate brown eyes looked up at me and sweetly said, “That will be 4.25.” I proceeded to hand her a twenty and without a calculator, she handed me three quarters and said, “75 makes five.” Then laid a five and ten in my hand, “ten and twenty.” As she took my zucchini off the scale, I caught my own reflection in the metal; not of the grown me, but the little girl I once was. I put my produce in my straw bag and smiled at the girl, “What is your name?”
“Arissa, you are a bright girl. How old are you?”
“Arissa, when I was your age, I too, sold vegetables. My brothers and sister sold straight from our garden on a card table in front of my house. You are a hard worker. You have a bright future.”
As I started to walk away, I saw a vibrant woman standing nearby arranging produce under the tent.
I approached her and said, “Is that your daughter?’
“My name is Lisa, What’s your name?”
“Alma, you should be proud. Not only is Arissa here working on this hot day when other kids are playing inside but she is smart, good at math. She will do great in life,”
“I mean it. You see, I was just like your little girl. I, too, worked with my brothers and sister selling vegetables back in the day before organized farmers markets. I loved to count the money at the end of day and today I am a wealth manager. Your daughter can and become anything she wants,”
Alma smiled and then with her head held high said, “Thank you. She is good at math and I keep encouraging her to do well in school.”
“Alma, you are a good mom.”
My eyes glanced at the beautiful dimpled cheeks, “Arissa, keep working hard. God has big plans for you.”
They say the purest vision of our self is when we are children. When our dreams cannot be altered at corrupted by the world influences.
As I stepped out of the tent into the blasting heat, I looked back at the Alma and Arissa, and I felt God whisper questions.
What are we teaching our children? Do they know how to work? Are we depriving them opportunities to learn basic skills and develop a work ethic? Or even realize their talents and explore their gifts?
I was lucky. My parents “allowed” for me and siblings to spend Summers in Chicago around a card table and a scale, selling vegetables grown in our yard. Today, ironically, because of that road-side stand, my oldest brother Don is the CFO of an organic agriculture company. My brother Roger, was the best salesman hands down as he would rattle off tomato deals, “59 cents a pound or two pounds for a dollar.” Today he owns Blue Creek Produce, a produce distributor specializing in “garden to table food.” My sister Debbie was the most likeable little worker is the best accounts payable supervisor, and I loved to count the money in the green tin box at the end of day. Today, I manage my own wealth management practice. Summers spent working on our road side stand as kids helped us realize our gifts.
Today, I saw the gift that the world has, in the potential of an ambitious girl named, Arissa. Don’t overlook your child’s gift and potential by not allowing them the opportunity to work. Can you be brave, like Alma, and listen to the Whispers Within?
” Teach a child to choose the right path & when he is older will remain upon it.” Proverbs 22:6