25 February 2013

What Happened to the Young Entrepreneur?

Staff Sgt. Phillip Bridges shovels the drivewa...
Staff Sgt. Phillip Bridges shovels the driveway of his new home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the wake of winter storm “Q”, I headed out to start the task of clearing the snow from the driveway and sidewalk in front of my house. Being a South Carolina native stationed in Kansas, it was only my third or fourth time completing this task. Despite my being a novice with a snow shovel I quickly realized that this was a task that felt much like others that the average dad wouldn't mind finding a ten dollar bill to compensate some enterprising tweener/teen to complete. I stopped shoveling and gazed up and down the street in search of such a person hoping to pass off the duty that was left for me as a stood in nearly a foot of snow. Surely there would be one future businessman in a neighborhood where the family size is a minimum of four. My search was in vain. Not one young entrepreneur in sight and their absence made me wonder. When was the last time I was asked if my grass needed to be cut? How many lemonade stands had I passed in the past few years? When did the paperboy all of a sudden become the newspaperman in a minivan?

For whatever reason the youthful dreams of becoming rich working in around the neighborhood have disappeared. Our children don't long for that extra dollar from helping a neighbor. In some ways it is our fault. We have stifled the potential for the lessons that a part time job offered by taking these privileges from our kids. In many areas owning a car is a requirement for a paper route and landscaping services have been forced to take any job no matter how small to survive. The opportunities that were once easy ways for us to earn our own cash have disappeared. Our children have become spoiled lushes who hold out palms for the money they desire to purchase the next video game or new pair of sneakers. The value of hard work and saving money are lessons to be learned as a struggling college student once credit cards have been maxed out.

After realizing that reminiscing about the good old days wasn't helping me clear the snow I returned to the task at hand. Just then I heard a familiar voice say, “Daddy, do you need some help?” Elated, I replied, “Of course son!” Then the question of the day exited my sons lips, “I'll do it for five dollars.” That was the best five dollars I ever spent.  

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