I can still remember the day that one of my two older sisters broke the terrible news to me that we were poor. I do not remember the entire conversation, but I can still hear my sister’s voice saying, “we’re poor!” I began to argue the fact, but my other sister chimed in and validated the bad news.
For all of the struggles involved with being a child living without financial security, there are a few benefits from such a situation. I discovered the upside to employment at a young age. I landed my first tax-paying job at 14, although we had to lie about my age. I say we because my employer altered the information so I could work all Summer. Very cool, since I worked for the city. When I say “the city, I’m referring to a small town with a population of less than 3,000.
I worked throughout high school and right up until I boarded an airplane and flew from Northwestern Montana to New Jersey for Boot Camp. Entering the military is also common for poor people, and I signed up at 18. The United States Army Reserve played an essential role in helping me to grow up. Although, for me, the process has taken a lifetime. In many ways, I’m just now completing the journey of raising myself. Oh my, what a rollercoaster of trial and error it has been.
I firmly believe all children should learn the value of working before graduating from high school. Of course, nothing is more important than their studies. No part-time job will ever be more important than homework. Furthermore, I feel it’s invaluable for kids to enjoy their Summer vacations, surrounded by family and friends. All of that said, there’s time to learn the value of working hard for a dollar.
I’ll add one more detail. Our first job can have an incredible affect on our lives. Depending on the environment, and the leadership ability of that first supervisor, a young person may or may not gravitate towards working. As with everything else, parents need to become involved at least enough to validate the safety and happiness of their children.
October 22, 2020