I try to teach my kids the value of a dollar. That’s why when our neighbor asked if Lewis would take care of her cat while she went away during the holidays, I made him say “yes.” Now, I don’t know if the experience has taught him much, but I have learned a valuable lesson: When my kids have a job, I am the one who works.
That’s because I am the one who reminds Lewis that he has to feed the cat. I am the one who nags him before breakfast to walk the four blocks to the neighbor’s house.
“Go feed the cat,” I say. “Get it done early, then you won’t have to think about it anymore.”
“I will, ” he promises. But he doesn’t. His friends come over to play video games and it’s practically dark by the time he decides he is ready to go.
“Have you seen the key?” Lewis asks. I have. That’s because I am the one who keeps track of where he left their front door key and I am the one who hangs it on the hook in the kitchen so it won’t get lost. I am also the one who finally gives in drives him to their house waits outside while struggles to open the door and let himself inside to dump food in the cat’s bowl, change the water and scoop the litter box.
Today, another neighbor asked if Lewis would shovel their driveway. I encouraged him to say “yes.” After all, I do think it’s important for kids to have some kind of job. Even if it means more work for me.