As usual, be careful if you are friends with me, let alone related, because I just might be compelled to share your story.
This one I’m super excited to share, not because it’s fun to hear that this family (my brother and sister-in-law) is working, but because they’re experiencing the same thing we are … kids that, once they’re pitching in, can’t stop themselves from trying to find more ways to help.
I watched it just the other day in my kitchen when a super moan-y child slow-walked all the way to the dishwasher, complaining with every shuffle that it was “not [his] turn to do the dishes!!” and the he “did them yesterday!!” Of course that goes nowhere with me because not only were the dishes done yesterday, they were washed that morning, too. It never ends. (Another nice side product of work around the house, the kids get a good long drink of the unglamorous mundane that requires attention whether we want to give it or not.) Anyway, before my kid had even completed his task, his mood had changed and he was looking for something else to do. It’s crazy how consistently that happens. So when I heard what’s going on in our cousins’ house, I had to share.
My brother lives in northern Atlanta. Enough out of the city so they have some land around their house. After a little budget consideration over the weekend, he and his wife decided, “Why are we paying others when we could be paying our kids” … not for the non-negotiable family stuff, but for the other stuff (yard issues, home cleaning, pool care, etc.) Plus, it has been hard for the fifteen-year-old (Cart-Boy) to find a summer job. He wants one, but (as we with young teens know) it’s hard to find someone who will actually give a young teen work.
So, aroung-the-home jobs have been agreed upon and assigned.
- Pool: Cart-Boy will be Chemical Man. He has already been to Leslie’s Pool Supply where they gave him a bottle which he can fill and bring to them where they will test it for free and advise him on the pool’s chemical balance. (Truth be told, if the kid could get it down, he could have ample summer employment cleaning pools!). Young-Ones will be handling the skimmers M/W/F.
- Yard: Cart-Boy will be Yard-Guy, handling all the mowing, blowing, weeding, etc. Sister-Friend informed me that the kid has already inspected all their equipment to make sure it was working properly, even lining up which oil goes with each machine and checking gas levels. Pretty impressive so far.
- One-Off Tasks like Attic clearing: Young-Ones plus mom will be tacking the clutter. Step One is to purge. Why not let the kids help. Together they’re emptying it all, making piles for each child (to keep and give-away). They had a blast … mostly thanks to all the fun stuff they found – including a little mouse that was scurrying around (ok, that was more scarey than fun.) At then end of the day, a huge stack of give-away had piled itself at the top of the stairs. The little boys, fueled by the work they had been doing, carried it downstairs. Then, with their brother, now Delivery-Guy, loaded the car (themselves) and took the stuff to Good Will.
Once the attic was cleared, the kids did what I’ve seen mine do… they started to look around for other tasks. One of them even woke up the next morning, after a restful night’s sleep asking, “What’s the plan for today?”
The plan is more purging. This time larger items that might be happier in another home. Cart-Boy now morphed into Super-Seller Guy and hopped on the chance to put the stuff on eBay. Thanks to his techno-savvy-ness, he will get to keep a small portion of the proceeds – a commission of sorts – when the items sell. (Again – learning great opportunities here!)
Ahhh… the spoils of work are so much more than money earned. Sister-in-law: “You know what else work does? It makes your leisure time so much more enjoyable. I think you even sleep better.”
I think she’s right. Anyway… good stuff from the job front. What are you doing in your house?? Let us know. We would love to glean from your great ideas (successes and failures). Or – why not share what your favorite summer job was. I’m guessing for many (at least in Texas) it involved a pool.
… And while you’re sharing, don’t forget to share themoatblog love by clicking on the Monthy Give-Away button at the top right. This month Waterbrook/Mutnomah, publisher for Cleaning House, is giving away a $100 gift card to The Container Store drawn from the list of those who are FB friending/sharing themoatblog. Join the fun. Win some goodies. Use them to rid your home of youth entitlement as we walk the road together.
Thanks for walking it with me.
… One hilarious side note. A mom told me the other day that she went into her 17-year-old daughter’s bedroom to find a job application missing some information. When she got onto her lecture about not turning the application in, that her daughter is NOT going to sit around all summer playing, that… the list went on, she capped her speech off with a little, “… and if you didn’t finish the application because you needed help – you should have asked!!! I mean really. ‘Length of Residence’?!” The daughter’s exasperated response, “Fine! I guess I will go measure how long the house is!!”
Oh, yes….. so funny!
Loved listening on AFR this morning. Reference summer jobs. In most states, kids cannot work until age 16. As a kid growing up my first summer job was at age 12 and was with the local church. I mowed and weed-ate the church cemetery. I kept that job till age 16. At 16, I began working in the summer at a boy scout camp. I worked 10 weeks per summer and lived on the camp only getting the weekends off to go home. The point of this is, although a traditional jr. job, like McDonalds may not be available for those under 16 – a service job is definately available (mowing, weed eating, home repairs, paper route, recycling cans, painting, babysitting or lifeguarding). Just go ask local churches, older families, YMCA, etc. A girl I know taught swim lessons, nothing officially sanctioned by any swimming governing body – just lessons. She did so well, she still does it in the summers as a grown up. As far as the Scout Camp, we hired kids as young as 14. You lived in a tent and had to do your own laundry and show up where you had to be each day. Nothing prepared me more for life than those three summers I spent working on Camp Pirtle in Gary, Texas. I probably could have made more money at McDonald’s, but all that money 20 years later would have been spent long ago – but the lessons are invaluable. Best of luck.
Wow! Thanks for listening, for sharing, … and for inspiring. Love it!