Living in the countryside of the Welsh Hills of Granville, Ohio, did not afford many employment opportunities for 7 and 8-year-old kids. My sister, Lauren, and I already hiked and explored the orchards and woods of the hills and needed something new to occupy our summer vacation from school. Our journey into the business world required rising early and taking a 10-mile car ride.

The strawberry farm was being watered from the irrigation lines, which stretched across innumerable acres of lush greenery. The orange-and-blue hue of the summer sunrise provided us with just enough light to begin our work. We were handed cartons in which to put our hand-picked berries. Off we went into the field to begin our new adventure.

It did not take long for the youngsters to learn their first business lesson. Labor comes before paydays. The constant bending over to seek juicy red strawberries was hard work. Step by step, careful examination of the lucious fruit and packing the carton was monotonous. Did I mention that the summer sun was rising. Mosquitoes were buzzing, and the sweaty grit on the back of our necks was accumulating?

With the noonday sun beating down upon us and the Midwestern humidity that was thick enough to cut with a knife, Lauren and I were wearing out. My father, who had dropped us off before his workday, came to pay the farmer for the crate of berries that we had gathered. Dad observed our stained lips from tasting the products and paid a modest price for our innocent indulgence.

Once we arrived home and enjoyed some Kool-aid and bologna sandwiches, we were about to experience our second business lesson … marketing and sales.

Cardboard was transformed into roadside signs that declared, “Strawberries 50 cents!” The family card table and two lawn chairs were placed in the front yard by the dirt road. The quart-sized strawberries were carefully arranged for eye appeal. All we needed was customers.

Drivers along the country road flew by, kicking up dust and wind to affect our work station. Noboby was stopping to buy. Our sales plan needed modification. As the next drivers raced by in the heat of the summer afternoon, I began shouting our message … “Strawberries, 50 cents.”

Soon, brake lights were lit from the passing cars and trucks. Customers — more out of sympathy for hot, exhaused kids — bought our strawberries. Soon, the fruit of our labor was realized with a profit and a payday.

Many lessons were learned that summer, long ago. Work is hard. Work develops character, and work is God’s plan for mankind. From a practical standpoint, my public-speaking skills and unction were initiated.

I am thankful for parents were supported and facilitated our life lessons that bygone summer in Granville Ohio.

Have a great summer, and remember, God loves you.

Contact Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

Contact Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

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