"And you think you can move all this cheese?" My dad grinned, his eyes twinkling with amusement. "What's your plan?"
I was 16. Had no idea about selling anything, (or planning for that matter) but like most 16-year-olds I had an even more pressing problem: I needed money. Teenage life was expensive. "Sure I can, dad! What's my cut?" My father smiled benevolently at me. "You can keep it all, darling, and the lessons you are going to learn as well." We had 2 huge industrial-sized fridges full of imported cheese in our kitchen. Unpronounceable names. Blocks from faraway lands little Malaysian me had never been to. This was from the time my father was in some sort of shipping and warehousing business. Sometimes, ships would come in with wares, need to offload and turn around. When no one wanted the goods, (which happened every now and then) they would be sold or offloaded to people with warehouses on the docks. Storage was a premium luxury. This is how we got the cheese. My father could not bear to waste food of any kind. I stared at the two huge fridges. It was dawning on me how out of my depth I was. From his perch in the kitchen, my dad piped up "I'm here if you want to talk through ideas?" "I'm fine dad. I got this" "OK Mel. I'm sure you do." I hustled as I'd never hustled before. It was Mel vs. Cheese. I eventually sold most of it (well within all expiration dates.) This was a feat, and I had to get very creative keeping things cool during transportation: 🤗I convinced the street side burger seller he could make a premium version of his cheeseburger with my 'imported European cheese.' (This wound up being a hit- he later asked for more!) 🤝I gave a local 'European style' cafe a free sample of various cheeses to use in their pasta and baked dishes, and then offered to sell them the same cheeses at a price lower than their suppliers. 🤷🏽♀️I even got a local hotel interested, but they needed receipts, so that was a no-go. 🧀And the rest? It got given to a local orphanage where I was told it was much appreciated. The only cheese I couldn't sell was a special blue cheese....(I think I couldn't be a convincing salesperson for something that looked highly questionable to me 😉 ). "I think it's rotten," my kid brother pointed out. "Surely it shouldn't have funny splotches like that..." My father stood back and watched. He did not interfere, nor did he offer unwanted advice. He just watched and waited. And because he did, I learned. ✅We have to let our kids have open-ended learning experiences in life. It's a powerful way to learn. ✅And their learning isn't the only thing.... WE learn a lot about our little humans too...and even more from them! ❓What useful skill did you learn because someone else stepped away? ❓Have you ever moved a ton of cheese? ps - I now know the blue cheese wasn't 'rotten'. #parenting #storytelling #letthemlead #creativity #selling #growth