Summer Teenage Entrepeneurs: Our Responsibilities

“Do you have anything I can do for you this summer?” asked my delightful teenager from next door.

“You’re looking to make some money this summer?” I asked.

She nods vigorously, eyes twinkling, “Yes.  I want to save it.”

I know this to be true.  Her mother has told me that this child of hers is unlike any child she has known.  She loves to accumulate money, and then count it.  She has her own bank account and eagerly awaits each month’s statement.  It’s like she is testing the bank for accuracy.  You go, girl.

Oh how I want to have the perfect summer job for her.  But, I’m retired, so a lot of “chores” are joyfully attended to by me.

“Let me think about it.  I’m sure I can find something for you to do,” I said.

She twinkled her way off the porch and waved good-bye.

Her visit left me with a few thoughts about hiring kids.  My need to “think about it,” was not only for her, but also for me.  I want to be able to offer the type of work that meets the needs for the following:

  • A task that needs to be done, that I would appreciate some help with.  This will allow me to feel that my “hired hand” is truly helpful, and that the task is meaningful.
  • A task that will allow my eager-to-work-for-money teenager a sense of helpfulness and accomplishment.
  • A task that will end successfully, with both boss and hired hand pleased with the transaction.

I believe that it is the boss’ responsibility to offer a task/job that can be easily explained with clear parameters for successful completion. It is the teenager’s step into the work of “work” that is the crucial issue here.  It is the boss’ responsibility to help teach the teenager the most valuable aspect of working:  internal reward for a “job well done.”  Anything less, gives an experience that will not bode well for the budding entrepeneur.

I confess, I still haven’t come up with a perfect task that meets my own needs to get some money into my twinkling kid’s pocket.  I will hire her to take care of our yard (which means watering and fetching her parents if anything seems to be amiss) when we leave for a week.  But as to a determinate task while we’re at home?  Everything I can think of requires physical work, which is quite a challenge for most kids to engage in and for me to adequately supervise.  I’ll keep thinking, there must be a way to meet all of our needs for having and teaching “A job well done has its own reward.”


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