When I taught, I had a lot of kids in my classes who worked. I can’t imagine how some of them did it! I knew students (I also was director of the flag corps) who worked mornings, went to school all day, went to track or volleyball practice right after school, went to flag or band right after sports, and finally made it home after practice, which ended at 9:30. Poor kids. I could hardly keep up with my OWN schedule.
I think a lot depends on the individual kid and how he/she responds to the responsibility. I had an interesting situation…siblings whose parents didn’t work. The girl got a job when she was a sophomore, and worked all through high school. I was so impressed with her initiative. By her senior year, I knew that she was working at least 30 h per week, plus going to vocational school in another town. That year, my teacher’s aide and I paid her car insurance for her…$25.00 a month…her parents wouldn’t help her (in fact, they were known to steal her $$!!). Her father wanted her to quit school and either work ft so that she could give them $$, or quit school AND quit work, so that they (the parents) could get public assistance for her again. (I guess they lost it, or some of it, when she started working.) Anyway! Long story short…she graduated, got a decent job immediately, and has been a hard worker ever since. I am so terribly proud of her, one would think she was my very own!
So in contrast, her brother…got a job in the fields the summer after his sophomore year, got a big head because he could make such great money, and QUIT school. I have talked to him since and he literally cannot see any further than the numbers on his paycheck. He makes okay money when he is working, but he doesn’t understand that he may well be tossing watermelons and detassling corn and living with his parents for the rest of his life, because he has not earned his GED or any other equivalent, and has no skills and no initiative. I have utmost respect for ANYone who works in the fields or any other type of work like that, don’t get me wrong! I just know that this young man settled for the quick fix and has never gotten past that point.
I don’t know what I will do with my boys. We too live in a town with lots of opportunities for young people. (Most of the restaurants seem to be managed by college students. ;->) I know that they will want to work, and I am leaning toward summer jobs and maybe something like paper routes. I am not willing for them to work very many hours, though, at least during the school year. I agree that kids need time to be kids…they will have years and years to worry about earning a paycheck! Unfortunately, they want motor-scooters and the like, and Momma’s budget does NOT allow for stuff like that. 😉
So… I guess I am in a quandary too! I will be eager to hear what everyone else thinks about this one.