Friday, June 5, 2009

Lawn Mowing is Not Rocket Science

I have come to the conclusion that I am reaching a time when technology can go on without me. My children and grandchildren know more about cell phones, social media like Twitter and Facebook. Why should they listen to anything I have to say when it comes to learning something as mundane as mowing the lawn or cleaning their room?

The rocket science involved in mowing a lawn is beyond the younger generation. They will mow around anything in their path, rather than pick it up. The lawn will look more like a bad hair day than a pristine baseball field.

Weeding is another extreme sport where they have no athletic ability. A neighbor boy was weeding a flowerbed and pulled out everything that bloomed. When I asked him about his weed vs flower choices, he explained he figured if it bloomed it was a weed. Being the consummate gardener for decades, I must admit there is a thin line.

The house cleaning chores are just as challenging. If my son can get his dirty dishes from his room to the kitchen, they stop at the dishwasher. It is like a road block. I have introduced him to the trash can, his closet, and even the washing machine. He recognizes them but that is the extent of their relationship.

Perhaps if mowing the lawn or cleaning up could be done with a video game controller on the Wii, these skills would be well honed by age twelve. And yet, in this day of working parents and seniors staying in their homes longer, it seems that yard work or housecleaning would be a profitable business for some enterprising young person.

Gone are the days of the backyard carnivals and lemonade stands that we remember. Kids today need to make some serious cash. Have you seen the price of anything with an “i” in front of it? Babysitters are charging $5 an hour. That is a far cry from the going rate of 50 cents an hour forty years ago.

Helping our grandchildren understand the value of a dollar may be a more daunting task than helping them find a job. Tom Sawyer tricked his friend into painting a fence by making it sound more like fun than work. Go into business with your grandchild. They can be the bookkeeper and you will be the front man. Invest in a summer business that will not only help them buy that jumbo box of popcorn ($4.75!) at the movie but they might learn a little business savvy along the way.

Be imaginative with the name of the business, like Yard Hogs or Green Giants. Teach them how to mow, edge, trim and weed. Call your family, neighbors and friends and ask them to recommend this lawn and yard service. Help your grandchild to set up a schedule and provide transportation to the jobs. Once the business is going, you can suggest the need for more employees, creating more jobs for their friends. And what is your interest on the initial investment? Your lawn will be mowed once a week and spending time watching your grandchild taking steps toward independence.

If you are not into capital investments, check the web site It is an excellent resource for young people ages 8 to 18 years old to dip their fingers into the entrepreneurial pool. The free site is easy to navigate and encourages parents to be involved. home page links kids to games, programs, a variety of resources and products to get kids doing business related activities. A very innovative and educational website for parents, grandparents and especially kids.

There are many books and web sites on kids in business you can share with your grandchildren. Remember - give a child a video game and you entertain him for a few hours. Teach him the value of work and he can buy his own video games and not spend as many hours playing them. That’s what a wise grandma would do.

1 comment:

Denise Burks said...

Whenever I see someone doing lawn chores I give a big encouraging smile and wave, especially when it is a kid. When our older kids were young, we spent entire weekends teaching and supervising chores. Specifically, lawn chores. Both my husband and I thought it was important. My husband, trained as a mechanical engineer, wanted everyone to understand the basic workings of a lawn mower, a simple small gas engine. “Anyone can push the pedal down on a Mercedes,” he would say. “But I want you to understand what happens when you push down on that pedal.” He also wanted them to know how it feels to do a good job and get paid for that job. “Anyone can push the pedal down on a Mercedes,” he would repeat. “But I want you to be able to pay for one.”