Wednesday, November 26, 2008
My 8-year-old asked me if there was any work to be done around the house.
He's got a book fair at his school coming up and is looking for ways to earn some dough.
I told him that we needed to rake the leaves in the backyard and he agreed to do it for a fee: six dollars and hour.
So after sleeping in, watching TV and then playing some video games, the boys got dressed.
Without me telling them to.
I knew something was up.
I heard the back door slam shut and then creak back open again.
"What time is it dad?" he asked.
"Quarter to twelve," I said.
"I'm gonna earn some money!" he said.
My younger son heard all the commotion and asked what was going and within moments was hooded and hatted and out the back door himself.
I sat there and watched in delight at the thought of these boys getting old enough to do the shit I always do like rake, mow the lawn or shovel snow. Before I could finish my daydream the rakes had been dropped... and I noticed the slide of the treehouse was now covered in leaves and pines needles.
You want to teach your kids the value of money and the hard work it takes to get it but then again you also want your kids not to have to grow up too fast, you want your kids to have kid fun. So I raked around the yard while they entertained themselves.
"What time is it?" my 8-year-old asked.
"Has it been an hour?"
"Probably," I said.
"But you don't get six bucks because you stopped working," I explained.
"Aw man," he groaned.
"I'll give you two bucks, a dollar for each pile you raked."
He seemed content at that.
I raked about a half dozen piles of leaves but left the biggest for last. As I dragged the tarp over to scoop up the pile they both screamed.
"Wait! Wait! Not yet..." said my 8-year-old.
So I sat and watched these two brothers run football plays with their K2, each one ending in a dive into the pile of leaves.
The 8-year-old was trying to finish off the game with a Hail Mary pass to his little brother. He kept razzing his little brother about not catching the ball until I pointed out the quarterback was throwing weak passes to him.
"Don't you be talking about my quarterback!" said my 5-year-old as he ran towards me holding the ball up above his head like he was going to throw it at me.
One more pass turned into two. Then three. And four. Five. Six. Seven...
Then my 5-year-old caught the ball as he fell into the pile. They both screamed as the quarterback came running over and picked him up then dumped the two of them into the leaves.
By the time I raked the mess back up into a managable pile, they were already inside.
Then I heard the door open.
"Dad, how about three dollars?" said my 8-year-old.
"For teamwork, because we worked like a team."
"Okay," I said. "Three dollars."