Three cheers for teen labor

I had forgotten the wonders of inexpensive teenaged assistance in your labors.

I am the co-founder of my apartment complex’s Neighborhood Watch. We had a meeting a few weeks ago due to a wave of petty theft, and scheduled the next meeting for this Thursday. But I lost the notebook with the names and phone numbers of everyone who was supposed to help me put flyers on the doors of some 777 apartments in our complex.

Enter my next-door neighbor’s son, who is always asking me if he can’t sweep my porch for a couple of bucks. I hired him for ten bucks, found another kid while we were working and offered him three bucks to put flyers in his neighborhood, which enticed him to continue working with my neighbor’s son. I gave him a couple more bucks for his work, went out and bought the boys sodas, and retired to my apartment for the evening. My co-captain and her friend did some of the neighborhoods, and found two more boys willing to help out. Altogether, the fifteen bucks saved me about another hour or so of work that I hate.

Teen labor is a good thing. I think I’m going to hire William to clean my car next.

This entry was posted in Life. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Three cheers for teen labor

  1. dymphna says:

    You are absolutely right about teen labor. But the most important consequence is the sense of involvement and of feeling useful it gives to teenagers, surely the most superfluous of beings at times.

    That’s why Scouts were/are so important for a sense of competence. When a boy finishes his Eagle Scout project (it is something that must help the community and must involve pulling together other people), he has a sense of himself that all the useless “self-esteem” junque won’t give him.

    Are these kids an integral part of your Neighborhood Watch? Might they be incorporated?

    And yes, they are cheap, if inept, labor. My grandson is coming over in the next few weeks to help me with the heavier gardening and outside odds and ends. I try to include interesting things boys like — like setting things on fire (we can burn brush where I live) or chopping weeds with noisy machines.

    Involve the kids and you’ll reduce the crime, even in ghetto-ized communities. In fact, they’ll never be as idealistic as they are as teenagers — use that while you can! One even gets to enjoy them in the process

    They also love to raise money for projects.

    BTW, all that unused, seething adolescent acting out in France is great, untapped energy — radioactive, perhaps, but the right leaders could tap it for the common good. There is a book from a few years ago, whose title I cannot now recall (though my son loved it)about a priest in one of the worst gang areas in LA who rounded up, slowly, the gang members and had them help him clean up the neighborhood. He served at their funerals, he gave them places to sleep, he helped start employment places, he helped with getting tattoo removal, he gave them hope…all on a shoestring.

    Sorry to go on so long. You hit a subject close to my heart…

    Another thing: teach some competency to a kid (music, carpentry, computers, minor car repairs, ANYTHING useful) and you give him a self. Kids like this are less likely to wander into drugs.

  2. I’ve actually thought about trying to get the kids together, but I haven’t really come up with much of a plan.

    I do know that the neighborhood kids seem to like me, partly because I always treat children with respect, unless they are disrespecting me. And partly because they think I’m a cop. Neighborhood Watch = Police to them. That is something I am not going to make any pains to correct, what with their respecting my Jeep and apartment as a result.

    I dunno. Maybe I’ll try to figure something out for this summer. There’s no lack of kids around then.

Comments are closed.