The Gum Company

“Were you aware that your son was selling gum at school”?

“Yes”, I responded.

The Vice Principal at the other end of the phone was taken a back a little. “So, you did know”?

Uh Oh. I guess it’s a problem. Like all the other companies that had been shut down over the past 4 years: making the light sabres, making pins, John and Jo comics, accessories for stuffies, snowbucks and the Mini’s club.

Zach is an entrepreneur. I am sure about that.

Every year, he has come up with little companies to start, and slowly they get shut down.

Sometimes they are closed due to teacher involvement, and sometimes there is a natural decline in business forcing the business to close.

This year was no different. Zach and his friend decided to purchase multiple packs of different gums, and then sell them a piece at a time (at a small profit). Seven dollars in 2 days! And that was just his class. They hadn’t even marketed the other grade 6 class (he informed me).

Sadly though, he came face to face with the Vice Principal who shut the business down, saying selling things was not permitted on school property (although Zach informed me that the vice principal couldn’t show him where in the school handbook it says it is not permitted. I can imagine the Vice Principal’s face when he asked to see that!).

Although I understand the Vice Principal’s perspective, I can’t say that I agree with it.

I think sometimes we are all a little paranoid about things.

My son is NOT just like a drug dealer.

I think it’s more like having a lemonade stand (his partner’s Mom came up with that great analogy:)

Are we going to start outlawing that too though?

How can we be sure that these kids are allowed to have lemonade? What if they are allergic to lemons? What if they stole the $0.25 they used to buy the lemonade? What if one kid gets more lemonade than the other? What if one kid doesn’t like the lemonade – will there be a refund? Is it fair for them to have a lemonade stand and not someone else?

Maybe you get my point?

Are we trying to protect, equalize, sensitize, sanitize a little too much??

Why are we not fostering a bit more creativity, encouraging kids to think outside the box, to do something a little different?

Why couldn’t this Vice Principal have called me saying what an amazing idea Zach and his friend had – they were real entrepreneurs! “Unfortunately it goes against school policy (maybe??), but perhaps they would be interested in doing it for some fundraising or charitable cause”? I’m sure the boys would have been flattered, and then encouraged, and maybe even learned something about fundraising and growing a business.

Instead, we have a whole lot of gum over here.

Luckily, I don’t think we have any broken spirits.

We may have a gum stand in our front yard soon enough though:))

Despite the school policies squashing dreams and businesses, I want my little entrepreneurs to know I think they are brilliant!! I love what they make and sell, their newspapers, their clubs, their creative little minds. I am so proud that they are always thinking outside of the box, always trying to build on their dreams, always trying to find a niche in the market. I hope they never lose that quest to try things out, dare to be different, and be determined to make some coin!

Love you guys and couldn’t be more proud:)))


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