I admire the hosts of websites and blogs that invite other writers and lecturers to submit posts for publication. The practice enhances the scope of expertise presented on the blog, elevates the overall quality of the content by drawing upon the broad range of wisdom of selected contributors and, by and large, makes the owner’s blog more entertaining.
I met Janie Johnson in the ‘green room’ at the Fox TV studio of Sean Hannity on October 27 of last year. I remember the date because the next day I drove to Manchester, Vermont to do a book signing at the Northshire Book Store. One doesn’t forget one’s first book signing at a major and prestigious book store.
I liked Janie immediately. She was poised, intense and gracious, even though she was somewhat preoccupied with preparing for her appearance on the Hannity panel.
I also liked the title of her book, “Don’t Take My Lemonade Stand—An American Philosophy.” I had not read the book, of course, but I found the metaphor of the lemonade stand to be alluring. I remember the many lemonade stands I had. I mom would buy three dollars worth of lemons, give me sugar and cups and I’d sit outside my house for two hours and sell forty cents worth of lemonade. Our mortgage would not be paid by those sales.
Yet, lessons of life abounded in that simple process of manufacturing and selling lemonade. One lesson was based on the common sense principles of economics. Another related to diligence and tenacity. Another related to creativity and energy.
Since my first visit, I’ve communicated with Janie several times. I am honored that she has read much of my book and has found a way to weave themes from my book into her essay, although I did not ask for or expect that she would do so. I am delighted to present her essay here. You will also find value in her book.
By Janie Johnson
Talking Common Sense With Our Kids
How do we know the difference between what works and what merely sounds good? How do we know what to teach our children about right and wrong or good and evil? Before we can begin teaching our kids, we first need to think through and develop our own philosophy of life.
Our first and last step is to understand our own conscience and our own experience. In between we have history, spirituality, and the writings of others. If you are like me, your first attempt to understand and document the lessons learned from your own experience will call loudly for more attention to this matter. Many of my initial thoughts regarding the lessons I learned from my own personal experiences in life were a bit shallow and filled with common axioms of the day.
Some notions like those relating to treating others as you would be treated came quickly and easily to me. Others regarding freedom, personal versus social responsibility, and forms of government to support or reject took additional time for me to determine and refine my true beliefs.
I began my search to develop my thoughts with common sense and history because common sense in many ways represents the lessons of humanity and history shows us what has consistently worked and what has routinely failed. My objective was to develop a philosophy of life consisting of proven principles that could be applied to any given circumstance as needed.
One of my early stops was with the Declaration of Independence to revisit the notions of our founding fathers regarding their belief (and mine) that all men are created equal with certain unalienable rights given to them by their Creator. This, along with the golden rule, is an idea that I used as a foundation for my philosophy.
I looked for stories with a moral or a lesson, because this approach allowed me to talk with my children not just to my children. There is a great book titled The Good, The Bad & The Difference by Michael Sabbeth that I highly recommend. Michael has introduced the concepts of courage, integrity, wisdom, justice, compassion and reason into his stories and metaphors.
Whether you are reading the writings of our founding fathers, the wisdom of Michael Sabbeth, or my own book, Don’t Take My Lemonade Stand – An American Philosophy, you will find discussions of morality and common sense. Moral equivalence and moral relativism are debunked and self-evident truths are documented.
Don’t Take My Lemonade Stand – An American Philosophy is a book about common sense principles, morality in thinking, and the need for we the people to get off the sidelines and engage in life.
My ten year old son, Sammy, asked, “How do you know who to vote for?” Once I realized that I needed a better-researched and more complete answer to Sammy’s question, the book began.
In addition to the more than 200 pages of text for adults, the key theme is reflected in 50 captioned illustrations and is made clear for children throughout in six parables that tell the story of the American way of life based on the freedoms hard-won by our forefathers.
From the author
Don’t Take My Lemonade Stand – An American Philosophy