I hope ya’ll had a great week.
A few weeks ago, I tried recruiting local teens to help me with some landscaping work. I couldn’t get one kid to work because their parents didn’t want them to do manual labor.
Technology aside, the lack of teen workers is due to the sheltered lives teens are living in certain communities ,Cough Silicon Valley. Their parents are placing undue academic pressure on them to succeed. They must be enrolled in numerous after school programs and their schedules are busier than some fortune 500 CEOs.
Sadly once these children come face to face with the unsheltered world, they are unprepared for the twist and turns of life, which sets them up for failure and an emotional breakdown once they hit the real world. Am I saying kids shouldn’t be protected? Of course not, but kids should be allowed to be kids, make mistakes, have down time to enjoy their childhood, and have the ability to work.
When I was growing up, you couldn’t stop kids in our neighborhoods from finding some way to hustle for a dollar. By the age of 10 I already had a thriving garbage pickup and recycling business, started a car washing business, I ran my own video game reselling business, and I had a flea market space. Also reinvested my profits from the recycling business into an automatic coin sorter. This allowed me to wrap my pennies, dimes, and nickels faster so I could easily make deposits into the bank.
Interestingly enough, I think the teen work ethic is surviving in poor and middle-class American families, but I find it vibrantly alive and well in immigrant communities. When I hired a crew of contractors to help me with a remodeling project, one of the immigrant workers brought along his 10-year-old son to help out. This kid was probably one of the hardest workers I’ve seen. Compared to the college students I had working at the job site, this 10-year-old was doing the work of at least 2 of them.
Sadly, parents think they are helping their children by not having them participate in the workforce at an early age, but they are actually stunting their long-term development by preventing them from gaining valuable people skills, developing a network
, understanding what true work hard work is, and gaining a sense of pride from contributing to the family.
Always Be Learning,