Opinion: Son is now job well done

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For the past year, I’ve often wondered whether my first-born would lead a successful life or end up a terminal basement resident. These thoughts were based entirely on two things: his addiction to video/computer games and his snotty attitude when asked to do something. Anything. Granted, he’s 16 and probably not unlike the majority of his friends. But still, I thought I’d raised him better than his behavior has indicated.

And then, a holiday miracle. He got a job! All on his own without any provocation from either me or my husband Doo. Literally, he came home from school one day and announced, “I have to go to the car wash to fill out an application. Can you drive me?”

What?! Where did this come from? Apparently his good friend has been working there for a few months and convinced my son to join the team. We discussed the interview process, found his social security card (he’s a real person!) and later congratulated him on his pseudo first form of employment. (He’s been a youth soccer referee for two years but it’s not quite the same thing. I’ve yet to see a W-2!)

In just three weeks, we’ve seen drastic changes in our little 6-foot-1 worker bee. He organizes his own rides to and from his job site, does his laundry by himself on a regular basis and actually engages his family in non-digital conversation. He’s even reset his social calendar to accommodate his work schedule: Last Saturday, he actually called his friend and told him not to come over; he was just too tired and needed sleep. Maybe more telling of his newfound maturity, he chose to forgo opening weekend of shotgun season, a tradition he and his dad have shared for years, to put in 18 hours of detailing cars.

My favorite moment occurred yesterday while I was on the phone with him. When I said I was just across the street at a neighbor’s, he replied, “I’ll be right over.” He’d received his first paycheck and was so proud of it that he couldn’t wait the two minutes it would take me to walk home to show it off. I know!

What does all of this mean? I like to think it’s that our baby boy will be OK. He’s demonstrating that if he so desires, he does possess a work ethic and the ability to make responsible choices.

I guess you never really know how your kids will turn out until they actually start turning out. Luckily, we feel confident enough about this one that we can now cross him off our list of “Potential Middle-Age Basement Dwellers.” Only three more to go! Peace out.


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