A Tale of Two Workers, Part Two

If you’re a regular reader (thank you!), you know that Jim and I have raised two mostly unspoiled boys. We don’t buy them everything they want, and when it comes to most of their technology and other high-end items (computers, iPods, video camera, guitar, game systems), they have saved on their own and then made the purchases. We’re glad we did it this way for many reasons, not the least of which being that they really take care of their stuff.

The younger boy, now fourteen, has really gotten the hang of this “saving money” thing. He has always relied on his allowance, monthly (during the school year) hot lunch money (which he doesn’t use: he saves it), birthday money, etc. in order to get what he wants, as well as build up a nice savings account. But he really wants to work and earn more money, right now for guitars but soon he’ll start thinking about getting his own car.

He has watched his brother earn money by babysitting and cleaning the salon on Sundays, and he is plenty jealous. He wants that salon job really, really badly. You see, my boss had them BOTH train with her son 18 months ago, so that the younger boy could step in if the older boy needed a week off. That doesn’t happen, though. The older boy holds onto his Salon Sundays like crazy.

And babysitting? Um, no. The younger boy, who was a baby when I started working in that health club nursery, does NOT enjoy small children (in the babysitting sense) and is not ashamed to admit it. He has, occasionally, done some group babysitting at temple events with the older boy and others and despises it. And that’s okay. If he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t like it. I would not encourage any teen who doesn’t like the idea of taking care of children to babysit; that’s just asking for trouble.

So…no salon. No babysitting. What’s a fourteen-year-old to do?

For one thing, prepare for when he turns sixteen and can get a job.

I have spoken to the older boy over the past couple of years about how I think it’d be a great idea for him to get a job at a casual restaurant as a server, get some good training, and then work his way through college at a higher-end restaurant (higher check totals=much bigger tips). Though he has always given me the blank stare and the “yes, mom” nod, he’s not really going in that direction. Shame. But I discovered that somebody else was listening.

One night a couple of months ago, we were finishing dinner. The younger boy got up and started to clear the table, but instead of doing it like he normally did before that night (taking one plate in each hand and delivering it a few feet away to the kitchen), he put one plate in his left hand, the second plate further up on his arm, and grabbed a third plate with the right hand, slowly walking to the kitchen.

“I think we have a server here!” I said as he smiled from ear to ear.

Every time he has cleared the table since, he does it in this way. Maybe I’ll get him an order pad and he can practice that, too. He’s got 18 months before he can get a real job; plenty of time to master the other basics!



  • Kat

    Funny to see how different they are but both are great kids, thanks to you and Jim being awesome parents. I am sure the younger boy will make an excellent waiter.

  • The Devoted Dad

    Sounds like he might be lookin for a tip after the dinner. I like your style with teaching your kids how to manage money. I should start writing some of this down for future reference. -Jason

  • i am the diva

    awww! cute!

    there's no paper routes or antyhing of that nature for the time being? or what about dog walking?

  • Tom

    Wow… a teen who spontaneously clears the table without being asked. I stand in awe. If he keeps this trend going, he's going to do well. You should be proud.

  • Anonymous

    I'm so proud. But you were raised that way and it is good to see you have continued it with the boys. Neither you or Jim were brought up in a wealthy family and you have learned you have to work for what you want. Hats off to you and Jim keep up the great work. XOXOXOXO
    Grandma W

  • Jeve (aka John and Steve)

    You must be raising them children right! That's fantastic! I agree w/ Devoted Dad…perhaps he's looking for a tip!

  • Sheri

    Great job mom and dad! We're the same with our two boys. At 12 and 14, they've bought every electronic gadget they own with money they earned and whatever birthday money they get from grandparents. They pay for the games and music too. My youngest is a better saver, but that's because my teenager has discovered that there are clothes besides the ones we see at Target and if he wants those pricier clothes, he has to come up with the price difference. But they're both already saving for cars, thank goodness.

    Our boys mow yards, and you really can't beat the per hour pay, even though it is hot, tiring work.

  • surprised mom

    You two are great parents and are raising some wonderful, responsible sons. You should pat yourselves on the back. I have two girls and like your boys, are as different as night and day. Congrats to the youngest for looking forward to the future and the job he wants. Love how he clears the table!

  • Michelle

    Way cool! I love the waiter training at home. HEY is he going to wait on us when we're at your house? 😉 Just kidding!

    And for a 14yo, I'm sticking with the pet and house sitting as great options and low maintenance!

  • Heather

    I think he'll make an awesome server, and honestly, he could jump in now, at some places as a busboy, if he is allowed to? (I'm not sure what age you want them to start working).

    I'm crossing my fingers for the older one! I hope he gets the deli job!!