Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Work Versus School

I am going to take a small step back, give you all a breather. I posted some pretty heavy things the last few posts. And I do have other things going on in my life besides life after cancer.

I can admit, I am selfish. I do not want my daughters getting old. But reality has set in as they are in the later years of the education. Barbies and Backyardigans have been replaced with SAT’s and “hangin’ with friends.” Over the last couple of years, another factor has been introduced, the desire to work.

I have mixed feelings about this, because while I recognize the social value, as well as an opportunity to develop responsibility and gain experience, I am unwavering when it comes to any potential impact on their schooling.

Again, from the social aspect, yes, it is a great opportunity to meet new people outside of school. Also, there is opportunity to develop communication skills. I am not worried about the whole “responsibility” thing, as I raised my daughters to be responsible, help others when able, never to be standing idly by, if someone else is still working.

I remember as a teen, I had my first job when I was fourteen. I do not feel I was the greatest student, at least as far as study habits go, so working did not interfere with my scholastics. By the same token however, I often found myself working sucky shifts, late at night, on a school night no less.

My daughters are ten times the student I ever was. I do not question their study differences, though there is at least one noticeable difference, homework load, or at least how it gets completed.

Ultimately, as a non-custodial parent, I have no say in their decisions to work or not. But nonetheless, I have made it clear school work must not be sacrificed to be able to earn some spending scratch. I encouraged them also to keep in mind, their final years, they would also need to spend time doing extracurricular activities to earn potential scholarships for college. There would be little room to include employment demands, other than on the weekends, and of course, after spending all week in school, who wants to work all weekend?

The one thing that I asked both to keep in mind, is why they want to work. What do they plan on doing with any income they make? Is it to save for their future college expenses? Or are they going to work just so that they can enjoy the luxury of driving (an expense that will eat up any income they earn)? Are they working to earn spending money to buy gifts for birthdays and such?

I go back to my original requirement. It must not have an impact on their ability to do their school work, or grades. Both have tested the waters of employment. They are ready. But the trick is to balance the taste of green with the crossroad of their future. I hope that I have instilled on them, the importance of not being “married to the job” because of poor expenses management. I want them to remain focused that their schooling is more important than buying gifts because all the gifts they buy, the recipients will not be helping them to get into continuing education.

My daughters are good students, and good workers. I could not be more proud of both. There will be plenty of time for them to be bogged down with a forty-hour a week job, dreading Mondays, and all the other adult responsibilities. I just do not want them to miss out on their last few years as kids.

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2 thoughts on “Work Versus School

  1. I remember being torn between teaching them coping skills and wanting them to enjoy high school. I knew they would have to work to go to college since we did not have the means to pay for it ourselves. My husband was a youth pastor and as soon as any teen in our group got old enough tot get a drivers license their parents required them to work to help pay for their car of insurance . So that meant our youth group lost them to the work force. They usually did not come to activities after getting a car and going to work. By the time our two reach the age of getting a car we lived in Bolivia, SA at a boarding school where we were dorm parents. They did learn work ethic on t hat school, as all kids had work detail, dorm chore. Bringing them back to the states after grad they jump into the work force. We were thankful they both turned out to be great responsible workers. I think its great they do not have to work but want to…show character.

    • I used to work as a youth group leader as well. Could not agree with you more at the sacrifice of a youth program that would definitely serve as something positive towards a college/scholarship application just to pay for car insurance and gas, which basically is all a teenage job will support.

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