When I was growing up I was never idle. School would end, and I would be off to camp, travel, summer college, or a job. I am not sure how much of this was driven by my parents and how much of it was driven by my own personality and need to be busy. At its core, I have come to feel that being idle is a waste of opportunity. I don’t mean that we should all be working 24/7 but rather sitting on the couch and watching TV or vegging on the computer 24/7 is a waste.
So now I am confronted with a dilemma. Two of my children who are passionate about what they do, and are generally industrious have come up empty in their summer pursuits. The net they cast for internships, jobs, etc. have come up empty. In the past, I have held the threat of having to work for me in my office over their heads. (BTW they do happen to be some of the most productive staff I have ever had). So now after all their hard work to get a summer position has gone for naught, do I make them work in my office? (which they do not want to do.) Do I let them do nothing this summer? Is being idle for a young mind a bad thing? Just this week I had a friend tell me that children need to be bored. When they complain about being bored it makes my skin crawl. So, Gotham what do you think?
Oh, and if you do know someone in film or TV looking for an intern, or know someone in a lab looking for a short-term assistant I have the help they seek.
I grew up before savvy internships and international
travel to help out illiterate villagers in the Amazon Rain Forest or the Townships of South Africa. Once I turned 16, my mother got me a job assisting a welfare family on an egg farm. Very enlightening. But when mom inspected the house while the owners were away, she cancelled my contract. I'll never forget seeing how really poor people live. Then I worked in my father's office. He was a General Surgeon and Internist in a small town. When things got rough, patients paid in produce, eggs, milk and honey from their farms. Or IOUs. I loved being responsible and interacting with diverse
people (mostly Chinese and Reservation Indians then). Once at the local college, I worked as a clerk in ten departments at J.C. Penney's for minimum wage. I never needed the money so it was fun. And another invaluable learning experience. Surely high school career counselors, local synagogue (interfaces with non profits of all kinds), Ys, non profit association, Chambers of Commerce, Tech clubs and county bar assn. must either be resources
for companies that can help. Perhaps a good opty for your kids to write a how-to e-book. Or work with
ghostwriter who can coach them. Good luck!
As hard as it may be at times for both parent and child, working for a parent before graduating college can be very rewarding to both. My two sons work for my two environmental companies most of the summer and winter breaks. My son Justin has worked nearly full time every day with me since he finished his junior year at Alabama on May 4th. He has learned how to write complex estimates, interact with clients, run crews and debate with insurance companies. He understands payrolls, how to solve difficult situations and how to develop new and existing clients. The daily lessons that I teach him, the satisfaction of seeing the respect that he gets from the work crews, and the constant praise that I get from my clients about him is so rewarding.
Josh, if possible, cherish these times that they can work for you over the summer and you both will reap the rewards of your tutelage.
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I am not a fan of kids at this age being idle. If not working for you, they should go out and find part time jobs. You learn a lot about the real world waiting tables, flipping burgers or helping people at a retail store. Nothing wrong with face to face interaction that pays a bit for a good days work. To me, it is the best preparation for when they become fully independent.