Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Work Ethic

             My oldest son has three jobs lines up for the spring and summer already.  He goes to work most weekends with my husband and father- in - law already but is now planning on going more regularly.  There's even talk of him working a few afternoons during the week, but we'll see.  For today, he went with his great grandfather to his house to help with raking and yard work.  My husband's grandparents have a large yard with lots of trees, flowers, and plants so he's going to help rake, weed, etc.  He was so excited to go too.  My son loves being outdoors and really enjoys activities like raking, shoveling, and digging; especially when he's going to get paid.  He's lined up a job mowing the lawn of his great great aunt that will start a bit later in the spring.  He'll go with my husband to mow and rake while my husband does the weed whacking and other jobs around her house and yard.  Ian can't wait.  I am so proud of him and his work ethic.  He can be lazy about his chores and helping out around the house but when I see him really working I know he has a wonderful ethic.  Normally, he has to turn over half of the money he earns to me to put in his savings bank since it seems to burn a hole in his pocket.  He has more money than most other kids his age but he spends it rather stupidly; paying his brothers $2.00 to play with him or even worse the time he paid them $20 to play with some play dough they were using!  As a family we've decided, for now,  to let that rule slide for a bit as he really wants to save up for his own brand- new four wheeler.  We searched on- line to get an idea of pricing and warned him it will take a long time to save up that much even with three jobs.  Since my husband has been trying to convince me to give up our family vacation to buy a new four- wheeler for him I thought it was in every one's best interest to let Ian see how long and how hard he'll have to work up to save up for it on his own.  I hope he'll learn that it's better to save his money for something important instead of wasting it.  I hope he'll see that it takes time and hard work to get the things we want in life.  The more he spends needlessly, the longer he'll have to wait for his four wheeler.   It should be the best life lesson of all.   
         He seems so young to me to be working so hard and I have a hard time letting him go and allowing him to do all of this.  I keep thinking he's too young to mow lawns and be out working, yet I couldn't hold him back.  He's extremely motivated and truly enjoys work.  I blame it on genetics; I married into a family, that I affectionately have dubbed, as "workaholics" and Ian definitely shares in that DNA.  Even at play they work; whether it be mowing lawns on an almost nightly basis, washing cars a few times a week, organizing tools, etc., they are incapable of sitting and relaxing (unless it's time to sleep!).   I just worry that he'll work so much and forget to play and have fun too.   But then I remember that when he plays he's digging holes, shoveling and raking so perhaps his jobs are just an extension of his play?  I don't know.  What I do know is that he's just a kid and childhood only comes along once.  I don't want him to have any regrets and I want him to have lots of fun.  He wants to do this so I guess I have to let him go.  Yet, I can't help thinking "where did my baby go?"  He's growing up so fast, I know one day I'll swear it went by in the blink of an eye. 
          Knowing Ian was leaving after lunch I was anxious to start school bright and early.  However, my oldest two boys had a sleepover in my oldest son's room last night and they wanted to just hang out in bed.  They were giggling and getting along so well I didn't dare interrupt.  They usually spend the day fighting and yelling. I know it's typical sibling stuff so I try not to get too upset but days like today when they were really enjoying each other's company are so rare we just have to savor them. 
          During a late breakfast the boys asked me to read some more of James and the Giant Peach so I read another 6 chapters.  They really are making excellent predictions and loving the book.  They then got ready for the day and we all did a few chores before settling down for some schoolwork.  Ian finished up his geography board this morning while I taught Alec how to find animal pictures on the Internet and copy/paste them into his word document for his Brazil report.  Once finished we printed his four pages and pasted them onto his board so all he has left is one small flap that we'll try and finish up early next week.  Evan and I sat down to read a few Florida books and make a list of the animals we wanted to put on his report and a list of foods he wanted to include.  We then pasted animal pictures from our trip onto his board and spent some time writing up labels for a few of them.   His board is also almost finished and I think they all look wonderful.  They grumbled, complained and told me over and over that they wished they had never signed up for the fair and warned me they won't sign up for next year's fair but, for the most part, I tried to ignore them.  I did point out that they complain when they go to school, when they homeschool, when I plan work, or when I don't so I don't care anymore if they complain.  I'm not sure I got through to them but hopefully over time they'll complain less. 
          Once Ian finished his geography stuff he started putting together a radio.  It was a science kit he got for Christmas and he was left pretty much on his own to follow directions.  I helped now and then and he was so amazed when it actually worked!  We were able to listen to some of our favorite stations with a bit of snow and we talked about moving the antennae all around to get a better signal. 


         The younger two moved onto science also and pulled out the flubber we had made a few weeks back.  They had fun cutting it, rolling it and pretending to sell it to customers.  Alec told me he learned how the plastic works and cut through flubber and meat.  "The sharp points get stuck and then when you move the knife back and forth it brings that with them and cuts it!"  Alec uses a steak knife to cut his own meat and I was surprised that he made this revelation now but Evan, who's only allowed to use a butter knife, was practicing really hard to cut stuff with the plastic knives.  He told me he's learning so he'll be able to use a real knife when he's bigger.


         Ian was building with blocks and asking to go outside to play since the shine is finally shining and it's somewhat warm today.  I reminded him he's going to be outside all afternoon working but that I had no problem if he wanted to go outside and play.  We ended up deciding to play a math game instead.  I made up an egg target and we took turns trying to throw blocks onto the target and adding up our score.  It was actually really hard to get the blocks onto the target and the game instructions did suggest using small, wrapped, chocolate eggs but I didn't have any.  I think they would've rolled too and probably wouldn't have made the game any more fun.  Before I knew it all 4 of us were playing, laughing, giggling and it was getting really rowdy.  Evan tried putting up road blocks, kissing everyone and tackling them to the ground.  We did finally start landing some blocks and adding up scores.  I'm not sure how much math they actually learned but after playing for almost 20-30 minutes it sure was engaging! 



       They watched Wild Kratts during lunch and then I had them all head outside.  I was hopeful that they'd ride bikes, but really I just wanted them to enjoy soaking up some sunshine.  Ian and Alec played baseball though Alec did ask Ian and Evan to pretend to play for a bit so he could take some pictures.  He found his camera this morning and has been snapping pictures of everyone all day.  He keeps telling me he's going to be a photographer when he grows up.  I have no doubt that if that actually happens he'll be a wildlife photographer so I keep encouraging him to bring his camera to the zoo with us too.  But it was really neat to watch him pose his brother's for the perfect shot.  Ian left shortly after that and Evan decided to swing on the swings.  Alec asked me to pitch to him so he could practice baseball and that's all he played for the hour or so that we were outside.  Evan dug in the sand, rode his bike and then took out his bow my husband had made for him to play Green Arrow.  He took a few turns trying to pitch to Alec and they laughed like crazy over how far off his pitches were.  Anytime Alec actually hit a ball he'd throw the bat and run back and forth from what he was calling home to the other bases he made up and he'd just run in circles over and over shouting out numbers like he was racking up the scores.  It was hilarious and he was getting so much exercise. 



        

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