“Please don’t make me go…. Please.Please.Please.Please.” Young worker begs.
“Sorry. It’s part of work. In order to do it, you have to show up.”
“Oh….Just this one day. Please let me stay home.”
“No can do.”
“Fine.” resigned worker complies.
Memories of toddlerdom flood my mind as we drive up to the youth center and I watch my young worker pretend to not notice we’ve arrived at the summer work establishment. Young Worker sat, hoping that I wouldn’t see him, or maybe that I would forget, or maybe that I’d give in and let him go home with me. Oh, the days gone past. When the two of us would arrive at Mothers Day Out (at least the days I remembered to go – hard to believe, but true. I’m sure they still talk about “that mom” – the one who paid, but always forgot to come.) I literally had to kick the kid out of the car the same way I used to peel him off my body when he was little. I had no problem ignoring the wails then, because I knew it was good for him to be away from me. His protests would bounce off as I donned my Mom Shield. I keep forgetting to put it on and use it to deflect teen protest.
Of the two workers, both have hit the wall. No longer are they eager to hit the ground running (well, maybe only one was to begin with. Better one than none!). They’re aching “just to sleep in”. I’m no slave driver over here. They only work two full days each week. We’ve peppered in some odd jobs to supplement. But, they’re actually getting a small taste of what so many people do every day. Go to work whether they “feel” like it or not. Because we have to.
These two young workers are getting to experience working for someone other than their folks. It’s good for them to answer to someone else. It’s good for them to get up early. It’s good for them to work … not at their convenience, but at the employer’s need/requirement. It’s good for them to hit the wall and keep going. It’s good for them to get an idea of what their strengths are and what they enjoy.
Hopefully next summer, they will be a bit more proactive in finding their own employment. I was incredibly encouraged by one of the young workers telling me the places where he’d like to work next summer. This is a HUGE step in the right direction. I think he’s actually realizing that the world isn’t here to serve him.
Now if they would only hire him! More on employers and their minimum age requirement later.
Thanks for walking the road with me.