My oldest wants a job. He’s been talking about it for a few weeks now. His interest in making money started when he mowed his first lawn last year and my mom handed him $25. He’s saved every dime since then, and just recently purchased his first acoustic guitar with that lawn-mowing money. Not a bad gig.
Over the past few weeks, he’s been looking at a pair of really expensive sneakers. He figures if he gets a job, he can earn enough money to buy them. Now, while I commend his go-getter attitude and has clearly already figured out that I would never spend that kind of money on sneakers he’s sure to outgrow in a few months, I am also a bit saddened by his new-found desire.
He’s 13 years old. Not to compare, but okay, here goes. At 13 years old I was hanging with my friends, wearing whatever my mom gave me to wear, and talking about boys. Getting a job to pay for a pair of shoes didn’t even enter my mind. (my shoe addiction didn’t start until much later.)
I was a kid. I acted like a kid. I did kid stuff. I didn’t need money, because my folks always took care of our every need. I didn’t need to know what things cost because I didn’t care. I was 13. Dare I say, perhaps a little selfish even. Self-absorbed with my life, my school, homework and friends. I didn’t ever wonder where my parents got the money for new school clothes every year, new shoes whenever I needed them. An abundance of food, ice cream and snacks in the fridge. They were my parents. They took care of me. It’s what they did. Of course, now that I have children of my own…Holy Cow! Do I appreciate all they did for me!
I guess I’m sad because I want him to enjoy every minute of this time…right now. THIS time. He will only be 13 years old once, and then it’s gone. He’ll have plenty of time for a job, for making money. He’ll have responsibilities soon enough. He’ll have bills to pay. He’ll have worries.
And those sneakers, while nice, are just sneakers. I don’t want him getting caught up in materialistic things. I never want him to feel his value comes from things. And I tell him every single day that he’s valued, that he’s loved beyond measure, and no matter what happens to him in his life, I will never betray him. I will never stop loving him. I will never turn my back on him.
At the end of the day, I want him to just be…be a kid. be a teen.
Be my baby boy…
Because it’s happening too fast. And it scares me. I don’t want him to grow up too fast. Because as he grows, he’ll need to spread his wings and fly. And I know the foundation I’m setting for him right now is paving the way towards his independence.
And I want him to be prepared and ready.
But for now, please son…just be thirteen.