I’d like to start this post off by sending out a heartfelt congratulation to all of the graduating seniors, for a job well done. I would also like to send out kudos to those non-graduating high schoolers, who successfully completed yet another grueling academic year. As you recuperate from all those essays, pop quizzes, projects and final exams that your teachers threw at you during the school year, I implore you to give some serious consideration to how you will spend the next 12 weeks.
More importantly, I would like for the parents reading this to ponder this question “What is the best use of my teen’s vacation time?” Personally, I am a staunch proponent of teens getting a summer job.
I am also an avid watcher of the morning news program, the Today show. Today they aired a segment called “How to Unspoil Your Child” and a few days ago they featured parents trying to cope with entitled children, who expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter. While watching both of these segments, I kept shouting at the screen, “how can you expect a child, preteen, teenager or young adult, for that matter, not to feel entitled, if they’ve never had to work for anything… if all they’ve ever had to do was ask and all their wishes magically came true.” Now that they’re practically grown, do you expect them to know how to care for themselves in the real world? Are they suddenly supposed to know how to manage their money and stick to a budget? Are they supposed to wake up one morning and know they that can’t have everything they want just because it appears as if they can afford it?
The answer to all of the previously posed questions should be a resounding no. These are learned behaviors. Behaviors that are best learned at a very young age, but particularly during the teenage years. And we all know that on-the-job training is the best way to learn them.
I’m always hearing or reading tales about men, particularly our men, not wanting to work. I’m talking about able-bodied men being perfectly content to lie around on the couch, while their women go out and work. These same frustrated women can often be heard wondering aloud about how their men got that way. Well, I purport that these are the same men whose mothers’ wouldn’t let or make them get jobs when they were teenagers. And now their young sistas have to pay the price for what I consider a grave mistake.
The bible says that if a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat (2 Thess. 3:10). This scripture is often quoted in our household. My 13-year-old son loves to eat, so he can’t wait until he is old enough to get a job. Since he is the only family member that does not work outside of the home, he has to pick up the slack around the house. I guarantee you he won’t be one of those future men sitting around on some young sistas couch, waiting for her to get home with her paycheck and dinner in hand.