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Entries in work (1)

Wednesday
Jun062012

Should Children Work?

I’ve had a job since I was twelve.  My first job was “odd jobs” (mowing, trash duty, painting) at a motel.  My next job was maintaining clay tennis courts…requiring  weed control, regular rolling, sweeping, and line painting.  All through high school I worked in a marina doing everything…painting boat bottoms, pumping gas, engine tune-ups, bailing, cleaning (boats and bathrooms/showers), steam cleaning boat bottoms, winterizing and boat shows (selling boats.)  Honestly, this may have been my best job ever, but I digress.

My jobs were so I could have money.  Mom and Dad provided everything else.  In hindsight, I was very fortunate.

Should kids work?  My simple view is they should work (and to be clear up front, I am NOT talking about exploiting children or violating child labor laws.)

Why should they work?

It helps prepare them for their future.

When a child works, they are learning responsibility (showing up for a job means getting out of bed which means getting into bed the night before.)  They are often get exposed to the very basics of a small business (handling cash, inventory control, how to “present” something in a retail environment.

My sense is the child labor laws have gone so far it is hard for small businesses’ to hire a child.  In Massachusetts, having a knife in a kitchen raises the minimum age of the employee.

That said, my son got his first job working in agriculture.  It’s not what he wanted to do for his life, but the florist shop growing a lot of their plants would hire him.  He would weed fields (and ironically rarely helped weed flower beds at home.)  My daughter got hired by Target as a cashier, and worked her way into store Human Resources…a career field she continues in to this say.  For a season, one scooped ice cream.  Another helped in lawn care….never touching chemicals and helping with blowing off driveways, moving bags of grass seed, etc.  Note: local businesses are a great source for summer jobs…and as Dad I appreciate each of these businesses to this day.

Each one learned responsibility, and neither seemed worse for the wear.  They balanced the priorities of school, sports, and working.  And they learned the value of a dollar.

How about your kids?  Do they work or not?  If not, what do they do?