Monday, June 4, 2007

Dreams for Sale

We were whizzing down the highway last weekend when we passed two little girls who had set up a makeshift yard sale near the road. It looked to be a poor neighborhood, and the little girls were dirty and dressed kind of ragged. In fact, one little girl had on nothing but a pair of underpants. They had assembled about a dozen assorted items including some old silk flowers and a large ceramic cheetah. Whenever someone drove by they would fling a cardboard sign into the air advertising their sale. I got a really big chuckle out them. I suspect they needed money for something they wanted and thought they’d earn it by selling some stuff laying around the house. We passed by that neighborhood again about an hour later, and they were gone. They had packed up their wares and gone home. Because they were kind of pitiful, Teen Angel chastised me for laughing at them. But you see, I wasn’t laughing at them. I was reveling in their enthusiasm. At some point in every kid’s life, usually around age 4, he decides he’s going to be an entrepreneur. He sets up a lemon aid or Kool aid stand in the front yard and tries to earn some spare change. It’s usually spurred by the desire for a toy or something special that mom and dad have refused to spend money on or can’t afford. If you’ve ever watched a kid do this, you know how excited he gets and how much work he puts into setting up his stand and making his signs. You also know how quickly he can fail. Very often his customers are limited to the mailman and the retired neighbor next door. It’s his first business lesson learned the hard way.

I have thought about those little girls all week. They were jumping up and down and putting their heart and soul into waving in uninterested customers. They were flinging that sign in the air with the spirit of Olympic athletes, and they just kept waving even though the cars zipped by them. What a blessing to live in a country where our poorest children can dream big and still hope that a pile of junk could make them a little bit richer. There is an old quote that says you shouldn’t take away someone’s hope because that may be all that he has. In some countries children don’t even have hope, but we do here. I hope someone bought something from those little girls, if for no other reason than to keep their hope alive. I wish I had stopped and bought that tacky cheetah.