I am, to listen to my son, sometimes a cruel taskmaster. When he works at his chores or at something I have asked him to help me with, I expect him to work, not diddle. I have encountered so many people in my life who have no work ethic and who moan and complain about how tough life is without ever making any real effort to change it, that I want my son not to be like that. He doesn't always appreciate my suggestions to work harder, faster, and with fewer breaks.
Last night, he and my wife and I were outside finishing up a mega landscaping project at our home. Zachary and I had excavated about seven cubic yards of clay over the past several days and were now filling in the space with ten cubic yards of good topsoil. My son had, in all fairness, been working hard, pushing wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of clay to be dumped at a construction site across the street and then wheelbarrows full of topsoil to the space we had excavated. Several houses down the block, a woman had been watching us work. Last night, she and her husband came over and introduced themselves.
The woman said that she had watched our efforts and that she had felt sorry for me, presumably because a geezer like me might not be capable of strenuous physical labour, and had been impressed by my son's diligence and dedication to the task. How old was Zachary, she asked. Nearly fifteen, he replied. How would he like a job, her husband asked him.
It looks like Zachary will be working in an ice cream store part time, cleaning tables, sweeping and mopping floors, washing dishes, etc., starting next month when we return from a little holiday. I'm all for it.
Too many kids have no clue about how to work. Mommy and Daddy give them everything they need, including a hefty allowance, and the kids are completely at a loss when they enter the workplace. Most are basically useless until they have picked up some experience. Some are completely useless period, and will never contribute anything of value to an employer. They expect a paycheque but don't realize that they have to contribute something of value in return.
My son doesn't have to work. I could give him everything he needs or wants, but I have never done that. Everything of value in life has effort behind it. Getting something without work or thought or planning has little or no value. Something has value only if it can be compared to the effort that produced it. So, I want my son to work. I want him to clean up messes that others have made. I want him to sweat while other teenagers sit at a booth in the ice cream store and enjoy their sundaes or milkshakes or banana splits. Then, with the money he earns he will be able to buy things and appreciate the true value of his acquisitions. Or, he will be able to save some of the money he earns and watch it grow when I help him invest it. He will get valuable life lessons.
Or, he can goof off, not do his job properly and get fired. That is the right of any employer who isn't getting value in return for wages paid. I hope my son will have learned from my wife and me that he will have to work responsibly and independently and actually earn his wage. That would make me proud.