Monday, June 16, 2008
It's that time of year again where if you've got teenagers old enough to work, they go off to find summer jobs to save up for various things like cell phones, motorcycles (in my case...SCARY), clothes, and other miscellaneous, not necessarily important things. But what's the point here? The point is...THEY WANT TO WORK! Well, at least (thank God), in my case they do. You may have babies like this too. Some teens may not want to work, but the bottom line to this is...THEY NEED TO!
Where did you work when you were a teen? What age were you when you got your first job? Why did you work as a teen--did you have to or just want to? Did your parents say you had to even if they were well off? Why do you suppose they did, if that was your situation?
I worked at various places as a teen, but I first started working when I was a younger teen, just babysitting here and there. When I turned 16, I got my first official "outside" job at Piccadilly Cafeteria as a waitress mainly, although sometimes I was a server. I made pretty good money in tips. I didn't necessarily have to work, although my parents weren't rich by any means. Our needs were provided for. I did need to work though, if I wanted to buy those "extra" things that teens wanted, help keep my parents from having to buy everything I needed and wanted for my senior year of high school (there were 4 siblings and I knew providing everything for all of them wasn't easy), and just learn how to be independent by having "outside" responsibilities and managing my own money (I could have used some formal lessons with this though). My father always had good work ethics in that he always had a job and believed in kids learning a skill or trade (even if they planned to go to college to get a degree--as a matter of fact, he encouraged both, for good reasons) and trying to do what they could on their own. He taught us that nobody owed us anything, and even if someone blessed us with something, it was a gift and a privilege, not a right. He taught us that nothing was free, and if you can't pay for it and/or can't afford to buy it in cash, you don't need it or you need to wait on it. If it didn't belong to you, you don't touch it. These were great principles that we learned, that were beneficial for us to pass on to our children.
My youngest son has been asking for a job since last year. He had some mega goals in mind, but he was too young to legally work. This year, he can legally work, but in only one or two places around town. He's still not old enough for employers and the law to be comfortable with hiring him most places. He started asking for little odd jobs to do around the house and with friends and neighbors. He was WILLING to work. That's the key. He had a GOAL in mind. That's another key factor. He also knew that he wanted to buy little things that he would see when we went out shopping or looking around, and (and this is a biggie), he wanted to be able to buy his little sister things because he likes spoiling her. He wanted to have money to buy me things for mother's day and for the family for other holidays. He has a major shoe fetish. He loves tennis shoes. Well, he wanted to buy them on his own because, he wanted more pairs than we were willing to invest in or saw any sense in. The good thing is, he didn't want to buy the ones for $150.00+. He says he likes shoes, but not enough to be senseless and wasteful. At his age, he's got a good sense of money management (I didn't at his age) and we are very proud of him. We sent him to a Teen Money Management class through Crown Financial Ministries as an extra boost of preparation. I think it was well worth it.
The Lord blessed my son to get a position as an assistant to a ministry couple (good friends of ours) that founded a Christian football camp, that's run through the local university. He washes dishes after the kids finish lunch, he assists on the field with the coaches, he retrieves water and snacks, he helps transition the children from one event to the next, he accompanies on field trips, and whatever else he may be needed for. He earns pretty good money each week and has recently opened a savings account. What lessons do you think he has gotten out of this experience?
We are working on teaching our younger daughters the same principles as our younger son. We pray they catch on. Even they have ideas in their heads about wanting to be entrepreneurial and crafting and sewing things that they can sell to make money. When they earn money from us, they will save some and spend some. They're doing pretty good. These principles will serve all of our children well as they become adults. Finding a job early will also give them job skills, teach teamwork, build confidence, and hopefully drive them to the Lord, on their knees in thanksgiving and asking Him how they can be good stewards of all that he has blessed them with.
Do all kids get the concept of working, gaining skills and independence, spending and saving, praying about stewardship, etc.? No, at least not all do right away, but all can, if we encourage them and they move in that direction. It will look different on every kid because of their personality, upbringing, needs, wants, impulsivity, etc., but all kids can have a sense of work ethic and money management. We have a harder time teaching our oldest son money management, but he has good work ethics, so, we'll just keep plugging away and hope that something we've taught and modeled as a family will shine through him one day. I think he'll come away with something useful eventually.
Remind your child to start in spring, looking for summer jobs, because they go fast. School is out sooner than we realize sometimes. Lots of kids have the same concept and ideas as mine or yours about working, and those jobs are "going, going, gone." I pray that you have children who are blessed by the privilege of working. There's much to be said about what the Bible teaches concerning working as well, things that we surely need to teach our kids, but I'll encourage you to look those things up.
I hope you have a wonderful Monday. I've got to quit now, because soon I'll have to get on my job, preparing for and ministering to the 2 working men in my home. What a pleasure!