Hello and good day!
My ten year old son, Isaiah, begs me to let him work in our chocolate shops. He likes to work the register and talk to customers about our products. And he does a mighty fine job.
He enjoys it so much that we hold working in the shop out as a reward for doing work that he doesn't like, such as math and chores around the house.
We print a to-do list for our children every morning.On this list are the chores and the work assignments they are expected to get done during the day.
Only if they can show us a to-do list with everything scratched off do we consider allowing them to do something fun, like watching a movie, going to a friend's house to play, or working as a cashier in the chocolate shop.
It seems kind of strange that working as a cashier would be a reward, but there you have it.
Anyhow, yesterday, I was walking around in front of our shop promoting when a gentleman with an eastern European accent, a clean shaved bald head, and a bushy beard approached me. "Is that your son in the store?" he asked.
"Yes, that is my son," I answered. "How old is he?" he asked. "He just turned ten," I said.
The man let that soak in and looked at me in silence for a couple of moments. "He is only ten?" asked the man.
"Yep, just ten," I confirmed.
Then he took a bar of chocolate out of his pocket and held it up for me to look at. It was our 36% milk chocolate, dried strawberry, and cacao nibs bar. "That is a great bar. One of my favorites," I said.
"Your son sold it to me," he said. "Is he doing a good job in there?" I asked.
"His doing an unbelievable job. I can't believe he is only ten. I have to rethink what I know about ten year olds," said the man.
Indeed. That is how I feel as well. Ten year olds aren't what most of us think they are.
I already had an inkling of that from working in Peru for many years. Ten year olds in Peru are different from most ten year olds in the United States.They are much more mature and expected to handle much more responsibility.
They can buy wine and beer at the store.They walk the streets by themselves. And in several cases, I have met Peruvian ten year olds with small businesses.
For example, I met one such young man with a taxi washing business. Another did light painting. They weren't forced to do the work under duress. They wanted to do it as an expression of their capabilities.
Our entire team in the shops does a great job taking care of customers. But nobody earns more tips or elicits more compliments than my son Isaiah. I think it is because people are taken aback that a ten year old can be so competent.
Yesterday Isaiah was working together with an 18 year old young lady who is a family friend and who is very sweet. I only stepped foot in the shop a couple of times during the entire three hours that Isaiah was there.
As I walked by, I looked in the window and saw customers being engaged and they were smiling and having a good time.They came out in a good mood and I stopped several just to check in and see how it went. To a person, every customer mentioned the darling young man working behind the counter.
Given that our goal is to make customers happy and give them a wonderful experience, it sure seems that having young Isaiah work the shop is the right thing to do.
I must say something here.Isaiah is special because he is a unique individual with his own particular strengths and weaknesses. He is smart and funny and interesting and talkative.But he is not off the bell curve.
Neither am I. Nor are my dad or my brother. He is just a good guy and at age 10, human beings are capable of good, solid, meaningful work.
When I think of the work I was asked to do at age ten, specifically in elementary school, I now realize that as a culture, we mostly treat ten year olds in a very infantile way. I don't know what the answer to this is at large, but having ten year olds sit at desks doing worksheets all day feels like a waste.
Yes, there are fundamental skills that kids need to learn. But a couple hours per day is really enough for them to learn those skills.
Certainly, allowing a ten year old to play video games excessively is a huge waste of potential.Same with watching too much TV.
I think that the reasoning behind plopping a kid down in front of a screen is that there isn't much else they are good for.They are just a kid after all.
What else are they going to do?The answer is that a ten year old can do a lot of important work. I've seen it. So, if you know a ten-year-old, help them do something they can be proud of.
Anyhow, I am running out of steam a bit for now.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!