All the books at Harvard . . .
As I left for work this morning my two thirteen year old sons were preparing for their first real paying job. Their papaw has “hired” them to paint all of his gates and the barn for an hourly wage. They have been extremely excited about this new endeavor and have already made plans for the money they will receive for their efforts.
I have stressed to them that once you are under someone’s employ it is all business and no play. When someone entrusts a job to you then nothing less than your best work will do. I explained to them that their papaw works very hard for his money which is what he will be paying them with; therefore, their workmanship should reflect that.
Watching them and listening to their excitement and elaborate plans brought back so many memories of my own first days of working. My parents had always given my brother and I an allowance for household chores.
But I can vividly remember one summer where I decided I was going to find any odd job I could to save up my “fortune”. With the greatest intentions I began petitioning anyone who would listen to me for work. To my dismay most of my pleas fell on deaf ears.
Thankfully my brother and I had a couple of yards we mowed for extra money and I decided I would hoard that back under lock and key. I even fashioned myself a “secret” hiding place out of one of my mom’s old check boxes. I took the top of that box and tacked it up under a wooden table in my room then put my money in the bottom half and voila` instant safe.
I learned fairly quickly the value of a hard day’s work and how much more those greenbacks meant when you had to sweat for them. This is the lesson I am eager for my boys to learn. They have always helped around the house and with the yard work, but this will be different. Anyone who has ever painted a barn knows that it is no small task. I fully expect them to be worn out and covered in paint though I hope they get more on the boards than on each other, but I know they will do their best. I just wonder how long it will take for the “fun” of a first job to wear thin.
I vividly remember when that new element of working disappeared from my first mowing job. The backyard of one of the houses we took care of seemed to be infested with moles and frogs. The frogs were far worse which I sadly discovered as I pushed that old mower back and forth. Every few feet a sickening thud could be heard over the whirring of the engine.
These suicidal amphibians would lay in wait and instead of running away from the blades of the mower they would jump straight into them…instant frog guts. My brother and I would take turns mowing the front and back yards and I quickly began to hate my turn at the back.
While mowing that yard I also learned that moles can make some fairly vicious sounds when cornered. I decided that those cute, furry, little blind rodents were best left alone.
One priceless lesson I learned from all those days of cutting grass and various other chores is that you begin to be more frugal with your earnings when you stop to reflect on how hard it was to make it. I also learned that although at times I thought I would drop, an honest day of work never hurt anyone. That summer I saved every dime I could and when our vacation rolled around I was one proud girl to be able have my own spending money. I felt like I was rich having saved over one hundred dollars which was a pretty good amount for an elementary school kid.
So as this summer begins I am anxious to see how my boys handle their first step into the real world of earning your keep. I know that this money will be treated much differently than the reward cash they get for good grades on their report cards. This money will have meaning and hopefully be packed with a more valuable education than all the books at Harvard.
Have a blessed week everyone! I hope you are able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather our Lord has given us.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…” 1 Peter 3:15