Do you have vivid memories of your first job?
When I was nine and living in Long Beach, California, a friend and I wandered into the local Goodyear Tire store. I approached the manager and boldly asked if he had any jobs for nine year olds. To our delight, he did! We were hired on the spot. My buddy and I were given flyers to distribute around the neighborhood.
A few years later, I was hired to wash windows at the nearby Dairy Queen. Living in Southern California, that was the closest I had ever come to a blizzard. I was paid about $2 per hour and scored the occasional ice cream cone as a bonus.
Times have changed! Although Dairy Queen required me to get a note from my school vouching for me, no company is going to hire a 12 year old these days, let alone an entrepreneurial 9 year old on his bicycle. But that was the 1970s, and for a lot of kids my age and older, a job was a natural part of growing up.
Nostalgia aside, it’s become increasingly difficult for a young person to find employment. There are safety and travel concerns, of course, not to mention the fact that fewer companies are willing to navigate the complexities of teenage labor.
So, what’s a parent and child to do?
Going beyond the obvious of exploring your circle from church or school or neighbors who own a business, you might find this website both interesting and helpful.
“Lemonade Day” is the brainchild of Michael Holthouse, a Houston entrepreneur, philanthropist and community leader. Mr. Holthouse’s non-profit organization, Prepared4Life, is “dedicated to helping youth become socially conscious individuals that seek to positively impact their communities.”
In short, Lemonade Day is designed to help motivate kids (and their parents) to think outside the box and create their own job opportunities. From mowing lawns to washing cars and walking dogs, there are plenty of possibilities out there for a young person to earn some money and, more importantly, gain invaluable experience about life and work.
For those of you with children, the coming summer need not be a marathon season of video game playing and television viewing. I’d encourage you to encourage them to think creatively and industriously. Pray that the Lord will inspire them to view employment not only as a means to money, but also as a helpful outreach to others. In the end, regardless of the size of a paycheck, those are the best jobs of all.
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