It's fun to watch one of your children have a life realization.
I got to enjoy one of those when Junior was talking about his menial part-time, after-school job.
But before we get to that moment, a little history is required.
My parents owned a nursery when I was growing up and that meant I was called upon to help out – a lot.
Being the first-born son I had responsibilities the eldest son was expected to meet. Basically, it was my job to help shoulder the load of running a business while my dad still worked full time.
Weekends and after school meant putting in some time on the end of a shovel, a rake, pruning shears or simply moving potted plants around. In general it was doing your best to make sure none of the stock died.
Oddly enough, people did not want to buy a dead tree – go figure.
I must admit, I was not always thrilled with the arrangement, but I sure did enjoy the income.
I was the only kid in Grade 8 with a job, but without that job I would not have been able to afford dirtbikes (which I loved), or cars (which I loved) or fancy rims for the car (which I loved) or a stereo so loud it would make your ears bleed (which I really loved.)
Yes, there were many benefits to working in the nursery. Of course, the downside was I had to work in a nursery.
And really, what teen actually wants to work.
I knew a guy who went off on me one day about all the stuff I had. At the time, I had a car and two dirtbikes, and he was envious of the cool toys in my possession.
After listening to him rant for a minute, I became somewhat agitated and pointed out that I worked hard for all my stuff and while he was sleeping in until noon on weekends, I was up and doing manual labour for several hours already.
He then looked at me with all sincerity and said, “But, I don't like to work.”
He believed if he did not like to work, he should not have to.
"Who the hell does?” was my exasperated reply. For some reason he felt he should have as much as I did without having to work for it.
Sounds like a prime candidate for the Senate if you ask me.
Anyway, because Junior wanted a car, ski pass, brand-name clothes and all sorts of things, he needed and a job and after sending out applications he would lament about how 'cool' it would be to have a job at your fingertips like I did when I was a teen.
Eventually Junior did get a job, a manual labour job and after one particularly boring day under the hot summer sun, he came home and proclaimed, “Manual labour sucks.”
This is that life lesson moment I was speaking of earlier.
I must admit, I pounced on that statement like a lion on a three-legged gazelle.
"Oh reeeeeaaalllly. So you mean it would not be cool to have a manual-labour job at your fingertips. It would not be cool to come home after school everyday and put in a few hours of work. Hmmm, interesting, because I recall you saying on several occasions how cool that would be.”
For one of the few times in his life, Junior had nothing to say.
But to his credit, he has stuck with his manual labour gig and purchased a car of his own.
He then was introduced the world of insurance, repairs and the ridiculously high price of gas.
He also learned how important an education is and the better educated he is the farther away from manual labour he will be.
copyright 2014, Darren Handschuh