How to teach Work Ethic and Entrepreneurship with a Green Tailed Onion and an old Lawn Mower!
Growing up I was surrounded by people who cared deeply, loved deeply, worked hard, and played hard. All of it seemingly without grief, interruption, hurt or pain. Now, I know this is not the case, but when ALL you know is good, it seems simply impossible to imagine anything other. As ridiculous as it sounds, I had no clue that people got divorced, that children lived without their parents, or anything else. While it is simplistic, it is also intrinsic. That which you know, becomes a part of you, and it tends to become your center, your stability, and perhaps your sanity.
When I turned 9, it was decided that I was a man, and that the time had come for me to contribute as one. Thus, I took my first selling job, and it launched me into a career. I became “Onion Boy” and I was very successful as this first adventure, because everyone knew me (this was after all, a town of 2,500), everyone knew and respected my father and my uncle, and when I came around, they bought onions. Fifteen Cents for a bunch of 15 Green Tailed Onions (Scallions I later learned). I got to keep a nickel, 10 cents went back to the lady that grew them.
I probably sold more green tailed onions than anyone alive today. I began to suspect that I was very likely the best salesman that had ever lived. I must be a natural because every time I showed up, people bought. How could it possibly NOT be me? I made a lot of nickels back in those days.
I also realized that I needed a backup plan, just in case the bottom fell out of the onion market. I discovered that people would pay me 25 cents an hour to mow their lawns. There was only ONE impediment to my lawn mowing success, I didn’t own a lawn mower.
So began the search for the greatest lawn mower that ever lived. It came in the form of parts. A piston from here, a spark plug from there, and so it went. Eventually, I collected enough parts from enough places, and I managed to figure out how to put them all together, and the damned thing ran.
Not only did it run, but it would mow anything. God help the tire that got in the way of the monster thrashing machine. it would gobble it up and spit it out and thirst for more.
It was such a success that I learned that if I RAN with it, I could mow more lawns in less time than any of my competitors. People thrilled at watching me run. I was the Forrest Gump of my time. Run Run! People would gather and watch (I kid you not) because no one had ever seen anything quite like it. I mowed my share of grass, your share of grass, and most likely most of everyone’s share of grass.
I began to dislike grass.