Some things never change.

Last week, I watched a couple of my younger neighborhood kids set up a “lemonade” stand. It was a week ago Tuesday. I guess it was one last chance to hang on to summer before school started the next day.

These guys didn’t give up. They were out there the better part of the afternoon. The street is semi-busy for a residential street and you could hear their regular calls as motorists sped by. A few stopped. I was highly amused when they cornered the Waste Management guys picking up their garbage. The haulers were good sports and actually bought a couple drinks from the kids.

A little later, the doorbell rang. When I answered it, there stood two of the enterprising young men. They informed me that they had “only two drinks left” and wanted to give me a chance to take advantage of their “closeout.” I watched as they went door-to-door to our various neighbors in the cul-de-sac. I was impressed how long they made those last “couple drinks” last.

Watching the kids sent me back many years and yes, I’m not so old that I don’t remember setting up a few cold drink stands in my time. In a world that was turned upside down this past weekend with the deaths of so many children in Russia, there was something comforting watching these kids take pride in realizing the benefits of their work.

The tenacity of these young entrepreneurs reminded me that it is important to try new things and not to give up. When my son, Chris was about seven years old, he was instructed to write a descriptive paragraph about one of his parents for school. He chose me. He described his dad as someone who did dishes, could cook, and never gave up. The latter description has pushed me to move forward more than one time since then.

It reminds me that we have to be willing to step out of our comfort zone. To quote President Theodore Roosevelt, “It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out where the strong man stumbled , or where a doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, and comes up short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause. The man who at best knows the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold timid souls who never knew victory or defeat.”

Fortunately, there are more of us willing to step into the arena than those who chose to sit and watch the world go by.

About Gary Smith

Chief Smith has served over 31 years in the criminal justice field. He is currently a consultant assisting public and private organizations better establish community goals and ethical conduct with the members of their organizations. Chief Smith serves as a facilitator, lecturer, professor and other capacities both inside and outside the criminal justice field.
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