It was a paper route that allowed me to earn some extra cash when I was about 13 years old. It wasn't a fun job, but it paid for the basketball sneakers that I wanted (and the basketball, too).
Throughout my life, I have held a variety of different jobs that paid me money... from being a babysitter, to being a painter, a carpenter, a lawnmower, a mover, a tutor, a custodian, a coach, a basketball referee, a volleyball referee, a roofer, a bag boy, a golf club attendant, a consultant, a presenter, and an elementary teacher.
So, why am I still mowing lawns for money at 42 years of age? (I gave up the paper route a long time ago).
We'll get to that answer in a minute.
The real question is: Why do we WORK in the first place ... at anything?
Some people work for the money. Some work for the satisfaction of serving others. While some people work for the passion at what they do. (Research shows, by the way, that about 70% of people are not happy in their current job).
The reason that I work (and have worked at all of those jobs) is very, very, simple.
I have done all of those jobs mentioned above to help serve people and to create relationships. The relationships that have been formed over the 30 years of my "professional" life have been invaluable.
Did you notice that I put teacher as last? (It's probably the most important one, too).
I love what I do.
I love going in to teach those eager 2nd graders each and every day.
I've even had the pleasure of teaching 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in my 18 year (professional) career.
So, why the lawn mowing?
Well, I like to practice what I preach.
In my class, students get jobs.
Notice I didn't say "students get a JOB." They have the option of applying for more than one job, just like I do in "real life."
All students have strengths... just like I have strengths at doing all of those jobs mentioned above.
I will be the first to tell you that there are many jobs in the world that I would NOT be good at... like answering the phone (would rather talk to you face to face)... being a waiter (have a bad short term memory)... being a stay at home mom (my wife is AWESOME at that)... or working in a factory (the physical labor on my body would take its toll).
All of these jobs (and many, many, more not mentioned here) are crucial to our society, but I'm not cut out to do them.
They make our world go round.
That's why the program in my class is so POWERFUL. It provides opportunities with economic results for underage learners... on a DAILY basis.
It teaches students how to give, save, and spend their money.
It teaches them self-confidence.
It teaches them discipline.
It teaches them about themselves.
I mow that lawn over at 40 Summer Drive... because I like to. Not because I HAVE to.
Teaching students this very important skill of WORK... is essential. In all of my years of teaching this program, NOT ONE student has denied taking a job in the classroom.
You know the answer...
So, instead of me telling you... please leave what you think the answer is in the comments section below.
I would love to know if you're right.