Lemons, Lemonade, and what we’re teaching our kids
By now, most people have heard the story of the three GA girls who were maliciously selling lemonade outside of their home, for what can only be described as the nefarious intent to earn money.
Obviously, the most immediately troubling thing about all of this is the willingness of goose-stepping “civil servants” to harass children for the horrifying crime of doing what kids have done in the summertime since the invention of Lemonade.
Depending on where you read the story, you may have missed this on the periphery, from the girls’ mother:
“I’m gonna let it go,” said Amy Roberts, the mother of one of the girls. ”I don’t think if I keep on and on and on its gonna teach them a good thing.”
I get what she’s saying. She doesn’t want to make trouble. She’s worried that making a fuss may teach her kids to…
wait a second. Exactly what is it she’s worried about teaching her kids? Important lessons about how government works? How questioning authority is both a civil right and the duty of every taxpayer and voter?
I’m not saying Ms. Roberts is wrong, really. But I do believe she’s missed a valuable opportunity. She deserves kudos for teaching her kids about business, and yes, even for teaching them about obeying the law. On the other hand, she’s also taken another step in the production of a generation that will always assume, to its detriment, that whatever the government says must be what’s best for them.
If, for example, she’d dug a bit deeper on this issue, she may well have discovered this nugget, hidden inside the same regulations which allegedly gave these cops the authority to shut down this private activity (hat tip Imperfect Parent commenter Dustin C.):
Section 7-1-8 Casual and isolated activity.
Except as otherwise provided in this title, nothing herein contained shall be interpreted so as to require any person who may engage in casual or isolated activity and commercial transactions, where they involve personal assets only and are not the principal occupation of the individual, to obtain a business license and pay a fee therefore. Garage sales, involving the exchange or sale of personal items are considered casual or isolated activities for the purpose of this chapter.
I’m no lawyer, but it looks to me like not only were these girls not breaking the law by having their little lemonade stand without a business license, but indeed the Chief of Police directly violated it by enforcing a code that doesn’t exist.
Yes, we must teach our kids to respect the law. But even more importantly, we must teach our kids to become a part of the process of law; to vote responsibly. And, more and more, we must teach our children sometimes, even the little things are worth fighting for.