Work Ethic Established At A Young Age
Recently, while driving through a local neighborhood on a hot summer afternoon, I approached a lemonade stand operated by three children who appeared to be about 10 years old. An adult sat nearby to monitor this enterprise, and so with an element of trust on my part as well as theirs, I bought and drank a cup of their very good beverage.
As I drove away I began thinking about all of the jobs that I had as a young person. The first job that I remember occurred when my father, a lifelong entrepreneur, provided me with a satchel full of school supplies including lead pencils and Big Chief tablets. With the school’s permission, I peddled my wares to students.
My next task was helping my parents in their homemade candy company which, sometimes, happily included licking the candy off large beaters before they were cleaned. A few years later, my brother and I sold cold sodas, candy and various delicacies such as Moon Pies and Twinkies to construction workers in our neighborhood.
I next was hired by a home builder on a weekly basis to pick up scrap lumber, discarded pieces of drywall, insulation and other material.
When I received my driver’s license, I had many other economic opportunities that included selling magazine subscriptions from door to door, providing lawn service, working in a convenience store, being a Boy Scout camp counselor, filling grain sacks and loading them into box cars, delivering newspapers, and my least favorite job, collecting pieces of cardboard out of community trash receptacles.
During my college years I cleaned classrooms, served meals and washed dishes at student dining facilities, worked in a library and provided services on research grants related to my doctoral education.
I share this with you to provide background for a few of my beliefs about the value of employment starting at an early age.
I believe that work, as long as it’s safe and honest, is worth pursuing. Work, starting at an early age, helps develop a strong work ethic, teaches responsibility, and assists the child or adolescent in learning both good time-management and healthy financial habits.
Jobs can also help a person learn to make good choices, work as a team member and be accountable for the outcomes and consequences of his or her behavior.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr. Ph.D. Copyright © 2010