When I was a kid my grandmother used to gather all the grandkids every now and then to measure our heights on the pantry door. She would carefully take her pencil and mark a spot on the door to see how tall we had grown since our last visit. That old pantry door on Wheat Street in Columbia held the growth history of so many of our family members. I sure do miss that old pantry door.
There are lots of ways we can measure the growth and maturity of a young man. From shoe size to height and even a child’s waste grows bigger. During the teen years, physical growth is inevitable. But it’s the growth of a young man or woman’s mind and spirit that are of the most importance. As a father, it’s my responsibility and privilege to raise my sons to mature and be fully devoted followers of Christ. Just as Matthew 2:52 says that Jesus grew in favor with God and man – that’s my hope for my boys.
This summer many pre-teen and teenage guys spent their summer in front of a screen playing Fortnight. That was not the case for Anderson & Ellis. There was so much more for them to learn outside. I encouraged (or should I say…prodded) them to build on the little lawn mowing business they started last summer. In 2017 they learned to mow yards and helped a couple of homeowners keep up their yards throughout the summer. This summer their business exploded. They worked in at least twelve yards and many of those were regular clients. They probably did a total of 30-40 yards in less than three months. The boys took turns on the riding mower, push mower, and blower while I helped them handle the weed eater/edger. I charged them $5 per yard to help them and to cover the cost of their gas. It was a tough gig. No doubt about that. Many of their homes were done in the late afternoons after I got off work and they often didn’t end until it was too dark outside to see the grass. While other teenagers were out hanging with their friends and playing video games, these two boys were up to their necks in lawn clippings, sweat, and gasoline fumes. Dad was pretty worn too.
So, why in the world does a 12 year old and 14 year old need to mow 40 yards in a summer? Here are a few reasons why I made them do it:
If you have an older child or teenager in your home, help them get away from the screens and put them to work. The generation coming after us will never learn the value of money and a hard work ethic if we don’t teach them. It’s better that they learn to work hard at 12 than still be living at home at 30. My prayer is that the hard work of parenting that Ashley and I do now will lead to the joy of seeing them launch well in a few short years into adulthood. This summer my boys grew taller and stronger, but I really measured their manhood by the yard (yard after yard that they cut).
One more thing…I need to give a big thank you to Ashley for keeping us fed, hydrated (and sane). And thank you to Randy Welch for keeping the lawn mowers running. Those machines took a beating and it sure did help having a great lawn mower mechanic around.