This story is more for the parents of growing children who've yet to understand work ethic and follow through. (And possibly accounting)
We found out less than a week ago that the city does a Lawn Maintenance pick up once during the spring and that pick up was scheduled for Wednesday the 11th. This was a welcome, though stressed filled, thought to us. Why, you ask?? One- we just moved in. Two- our yard is nearly a half acre of "unkeptness" and Three- pick up was 4 days away!
THANKFULLY- though a holiday weekend, we'd accepted no offers for Easter dinner and had planned to stay in our new home to celebrate. (I promise you- the kids would have preferred to have been anywhere but in the new home all weekend)
We purchased 10 sets of Lawn Maintenance bags and got to work. Raking, bagging, cutting, blowing, lifting, hauling... you name it- we did it. FOR HOURS!!! We found a variety of bugs, bunnies and other living creatures on our property hiding amongst the piled, composting leaves.
Wanting to know if they can jump in the leaves before bagging them...
Wanting to know how long he has to bag them...
After... (Sadly, the only difference I see is 35 lawn bags on our porch ;-)
The night before the city pick up the bags needed to get from our porch to the street. You can see the trek one would have to make as I was standing on the street when I took the "after" picture. Paul bribed the children financially (which if I may add, and I may because it's my blog, that the kids need to learn about supply and demand) Anyhoo, the kids, all three of them agreed on a price per bag and the boys got to work lugging bags over half their size up to the street. Kylee on the other hand took her sweet time getting ready to do such a chore.
When she finally joined them I heard the battle ensue. The boys assured her there was no way she could carry such an awkward and large bag. (Half because it was true and half because if she carried a bag they couldn't earn money for it.) Kylee whined and fussed that it wasn't fair that she couldn't make money. Paul huffed and puffed that though he was paying the children, he clearly needed to go outside to oversee the process lest the neighbors call CYS on our unsupervised, fighting, slave laboring children.
Paul ended up helping Kylee carry her bags but still agreed to pay her per bag... and then it began!
"It's not fair."
"I have to carry a bag for the same amount that you're paying her to walk with you as YOU carry HER bag."
"I should be making more money."
"I want more money"
"You're not even paying me minimum wage" (True story... my kid said this!!)
It was a modern day rendition of Matthew 20, y'all! One by one they filtered back into the house. First Brenden. He quit so clearly he had some time on his hands to tell me how unjustly he'd been treated out there. How unfair it was that he was carrying bags alone but making the same that she was when dad was carrying her bags. On and on he went until in walked Kylee.
Though she had to fight to get a word in edgewise she managed to do just that. "Dad won't help me with anymore bags. He said the bags are too big for me but that my helping him made it harder to get the bags to the street so I'm not allowed to do it anymore"
I tended to the yips and yaps of each of them but took the opportunity to ask Brenden specifically if he'd agreed to carry the bags for 75 cents a bag. (I told you they need to learn about supply and demand. The service they were providing was in demand... they could've held out for a dollar... easily!!!)
Brenden acknowledged having accepted that price and agreeing to carry the bags. I asked him when a problem occurred and he immediately brought up Kylee and how she was getting paid the same amount despite the fact that dad was carrying her bags. I immediately brought to Brenden's attention that Kylee's arrangement had NOTHING to do with what he'd already agreed upon with dad. Seemed pretty clear cut to me but I stood amazed as my 12 year old could not get past the UNFAIRNESS of it all. (If only we were blind to fair/unfair... I mean, honestly, do we not make our own lives harder by buying into what's fair/unfair when in reality God is PAINFULLY clear that neither exist!!!)
I began to share with Brenden on the most basic levels I could how the only factors that mattered in the equation were what the task was and for how much he'd agreed to do it. Thankfully, our talk ended with a humbled, apologetic pre-teen recognizing the error of his ways and running back outside to finish the job....
That boy done threw his hands in the air and stomped himself out of the room. His sister quickly followed.
I figure tomorrow is a new day to train them up as they should go so that in the end they won't depart from it... Oh shoot! That's today isn't it??