Teaching Our Son to Go the Distance
Showing Our Kids the Value of Hard Work and Saving Money
by Lorraine Brock
Over the course of the last two years our middle son Caleb has been saving money for a car. It’s sort of a requirement in our home that our boys invest some of their own blood, sweat, and tears into such an important purchase.
All of our boys have had active schedules through their teen years including a choice to play competitive football. Our oldest son decided to stop playing his junior year, so he was able to secure a part-time job that allowed him to earn and save money for the past four years.
Caleb has chosen to play football through his senior year in high school, leaving little time to work and save money. High school football requires
20-30 hours per week outside of normal school hours. My husband and I made the agreement with our sons that as long as they played football, they did not have to work during high school. If they dropped the sport, then they had to find a job.
So the question is: How does a full time student in his senior year of high school football have any time or energy to make money? It’s not easy but it can be done. We had to come up with some creative ideas and we found it took longer than what we considered normal to save, but we were
determined to help our son build not only his savings account, but his character.
Caleb started off selling items for his brothers and his brothers’ friends on eBay. As an extension of my organizing business, I hired a lady by the name of Lori to sell unwanted items for my clients. To help my son, I asked her to teach him the ins and outs of selling on eBay. Within a few weeks, he was taking in 40% of everything he sold. I soon started telling my clients that if they had items to sell, my son would do some research to see if the potential profit made it worth the time and energy it would take for the sale. He sold a little for my clients and then family started asking him to sell for them. Caleb then found work cleaning his cousin’s apartment a few times and then began cleaning his Granddad’s home once a month. Granddad overpaid his grandson for his cleaning services, but then that is what Granddad’s are for!
Caleb’s next job opportunity came when a distant family member called and wanted to know if I would do their estate sale. It was too small to run through my business but I thought it would be a good project to do with my son. Caleb, one of his friends, and I worked on the estate sale for a week during spring break. He lifted heavy items, priced items, answered customer questions, and learned the most successful method of running a sale. After taking out expenses for materials and labor, he pocketed over $800.
This past summer we hired Caleb to stain our extremely large fence. It was such a big job he decided to hire one of his friends to work with him. The project took endless days in the Texas summer heat, with our son learning to schedule work hours for himself and his friend based on weather and their social life. They did the prep work, the staining, unclogging the sprayer, and kept the equipment clean and ready day after day. This was a huge job that my husband and I were happy to pay Caleb to manage for us.
By the end of the summer he was about $900 short in his car fund. Football 2-a-days were starting in a week and Caleb would be beginning his senior year of high school by pushing himself to his physical limits. With all the work he had done over the summer, he still had no car. That same week I had another opportunity come my way to do a small estate sale. Caleb was not so eager to take this sale. He knew with football and school it would almost be impossible. Remember the “almost”.
After much discussion and assurance that mom would commit to taking on much of the responsibility, Caleb agreed. This did not mean I was going to do all the work, but I knew I needed to fill in gaps. He quickly went to work on negotiating contracts with his friends and forming schedules. He arranged a few meetings with the client, and emailed her back and forth to confirm his progress.
He started the process in the middle of August, and the sale was planned for late September. For the next five weeks and while school was starting, Caleb, his friends, and myself worked mostly on the weekends. Caleb woke up early on Saturday mornings, watched film with his football team, then headed to the client’s home to begin cleanup. On Sundays after church, we did it all again.
I will admit there was some grumbling and complaining along the way, but the goal was clear – $900 more for his car. On the first day of the two day sale, we had six people on hand including one brother, three of his friends, Caleb, and myself. The first day we were up at 5:30 am and returned home at 6:30 pm. The total man hours for the two day sale was 27.50 hours.
On the last day we cleaned up and got in our vehicles to head home, completely exhausted. A silent sense of satisfaction was felt all the way home. The sale was over! As we counted the money late that evening, we took out wages earned for his brother and friends, then I handed Caleb over $1,300. I asked him if it was worth it. He said, “When I was working all the hours, I did not think so, but now that I have the money it was so worth it”.
I am so proud of my son, not only for his hard work, but because he was able to find a balance between his schoolwork, football, church and this job. He finished the six weeks of school with 5 A’s and 1 B.
This past weekend Caleb purchased his first car and is the proud owner of a 2002 Volvo S60. It was paid in full. As a mom I took no money from any of the sales that I worked with Caleb. In fact, I probably lost a bit paying for lunches and gas money, but I received so much more than money could ever purchase. I have raised a son who will forever remember that hard work pays off and he is left with a life lesson that will serve him well now and into the future; as he will one day raise his children.
As parents, we are determined to make time to pour into our boy’s lessons that will make them young men of character now and husbands and fathers
of even greater character later.
Lorraine Brock is a professional organizer, family coach, speaker, and founder and owner of Get Organized! Get Organized! is a professional organizing company in the Dallas, Texas area. Get Organized! specializes in organizing and de-cluttering homes as well as implementing systems in the home for better family management. A popular media guest, Lorraine has appeared on Dallas’ two top morning television shows: Good Morning Texas and Good Day Fox, and has been featured on various radio outlets. She has been hallmarked in many local, regional, and national print and online magazines, such as the Dallas Morning News, The North Texas Kids Magazine, SheKnows.com, and Daily Candy Kids. To get more information about Lorraine, visit www.GetOrganized.ws.