Posted by: heartfull | March 24, 2009

Child Labor

A boy scout troop sent out a notice saying they would bag sweet gum balls (those prickly golf-ball sized seed pods from sweet gum trees) for $6/lawn bag, you provide the bag.

So I made Bird the same offer.  She was thrilled.  Looking at our backyard, she saw, I can only assume, a goldmine.


After watching her labor for an hour yesterday in the hot (yes, it was hot here already) sun, I started to feel bad about the $6 – it seemed like way too much effort for $6.  Then again, isn’t pay all about motivation?  And she was one motivated kid.  She wanted that $6 and nothing was going to stop her – not heat, dinner, piano lesson or bed time.

She eventually ran out of steam yesterday.  But, I got home from lunch with a friend work this afternoon to find her and her two siblings out in the backyard, running around the yard picking up gum balls, and cheering and high-fiving each other when the bag was finally full.  And running to the garage for a second bag.

Looking out just now, I see that Chip has lost interest and is playing in the sandbox.  Mare, though, is still volunteering her labor.  Bird considers this her job and has no intention of sharing the pay.  I figure I’ll let Mare figure out for herself whether she really wants to help.  And in the process, Bird will learn the value of assitants.  Motivated assistants.


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