Can a teenager’s summer job reinforce a good work ethic? That’s what we began to wonder when the following conversation between a father and son was overheard:
“Grandpa Smith needs his grass cut. I told him you would do it. You could use some of your own money this summer.”
“But, Dad, this is my vacation!”
Where Does A Good Work Ethic Begin?
Does it all start at home? At work? At school?
Do you remember how YOU lazed around all summer as a kid?
Or, maybe you don’t, because YOU had a job when you weren’t in school?
When you reminisce about the summers of youth, do you remember playing outdoors with neighborhood friends, enjoying warm weather, sleepless nights without air conditioning, and your summer jobs?
Summer Jobs For Youth
Teen girls were once limited to work as babysitters, camp counselors, servers, or car hops, but there were those few brave gals who paved the way as lifeguards, paper girls, or even cut grass for money.
Boys, on the other hand, had an abundance of work choices, albeit many physically challenging. They made money by caddying, mowing lawns, washing cars, painting houses and fences, moving furniture, roofing houses, or selling peanuts, popcorn, or programs at ball games.
Did Everyone Work In The Summer?
Maybe every teen didn’t seek employment, but a paycheck easily equated to more freedom and personal choices. It was the first taste of personal buying power, independence from parents, and a view of compound interest working in a savings account.
It’s not that it was all work and no play. Earnings provided youth the ability to play more!
Proper planning and budgeting still allowed time for Saturday morning cartoons, hiking in the woods, playing kickball or baseball games, and sporting a tan at the pool or beach.
Reinforce Good Work Ethics And Build Discipline?
Both generations were happier when teens had their own coins jangling in their pockets. There was no reason to “nickel and dime” parents for candy and gum when Top-40 records and teen magazines could be purchased on payday. Working teens could go to the movies and skating rinks. Dropping coins into the pinball and arcade games was an extra bonus, but also a good way to learn self-restraint.
Aren’t Choices Different When YOU Earn The Money?
Working girls sometimes polished their nails with new bolder colors, brightened their tresses with Sun-In Hair Lightener, and bought fabric to make new clothes (or to make their bellbottoms bigger).
Money to fill up the gas tank expanded prospects for dates, further travels, and drive-in theaters. Disciplined teens saved for a college education, a hot car, or a house for their future family.
Who’s Working This Summer?
Do you think there’s a difference in work ethics now? Are fewer young people working because there are less low-skill, entry-level jobs than in the past? Are more students enrolled in high school or college over the summer preventing them from work? Are teens doing volunteer community service to enhance their college application instead of earning money?
Is lazing through summer just another generational difference, or is there a bigger concern of what’s ahead when youth become adults?
Please share your thoughts in the comment box below…
Did your summer jobs reinforce a good work ethic?
Do you think youth should be working today?
What about helping out at Grandma or Grandpa’s? Did you help out when you were younger? Are you getting a return on that today?