Last week, an older neighbor of ours stopped by in his red truck. I didn’t know who he was so I ran outside ready to tell him he was at the wrong house.
“Can I help you? Who are you looking for?” I asked.
“Are your Mom or Dad at home?” he wondered.
(I paused, confused for a moment…..)
“I’m the Mom here,” I said (delighted).
“Oh…..you look so young,” he said. (I found out later that he was 70 years old.) “I’m just stopping by to ask you and your husband if your older boys would like a job moving brush and stacking wood? They wouldn’t be using any machinery and I would pay them.”
He left me with his name and number, and later that day Rich and I talked it over and agreed that this was something that we wanted Jacob and Ethan to do. They both have worked hard with their Dad for years now (around the house), and we were confident they could handle the work like men. Rich is such a good, “tough but loving” Dad and has trained them well. We talked with the boys and they were also willing. So, last Friday (their last day of spring break) they got ready, walked up the road to the neighbor’s house, and put in their first full day of work. They worked from 9:30 until 4:30, with a half hour lunch here at home. You can imagine the empty feeling here at home while they were gone. When they got back home that afternoon we were anxious to hear all about it, and I snapped the pictures of Jacob. They were both dirty and suntanned but Ethan said, “You have to be kidding, no.” when I asked to take his picture. Jacob was proud of his filth and injury (a long scratch).
They said to us, “The man was so nice! He gave us all the water we could drink. And his wife made strawberry cookie bars!”
He had them all decked out in hard hats, goggles, and gloves. Ethan said they were too big and “unnecessary” but he still wore them.
Jacob said with surprise, “The funny thing about me is the longer I worked, the MORE I WANTED TO WORK.”
(Rich understood that feeling perfectly.)
The next day, Jacob put in another full day. Ethan had baseball practice and then worked one hour with Jake, before he was too sick to work anymore. (He was coming down with a bad cold). Jacob came home at the end of the day with their two day’s worth of pay. They spent some time that night trying to think of other ways to make money. They wish to buy real steel swords. (“Blunted, mom, so no one gets hurt.”) We are going to set them up with bank accounts.
The neighbor up the road has requested that they work every Saturday until the big job is done, and several of my friends also want to hire them (one to move stuff out of her attic, and one to paint her garage.) Looks like they will have plenty of opportunities to work some odd jobs over the spring, summer, and fall.
A good work ethic is so important to instill into our children. They are rewarded with some money, but most importantly, we noticed a huge boost in their confidence as young adults. I am so proud of our boys/*turning into* MEN.