Kids and Responsibility

I literally JUST posted about feeling good as a mother and a woman, about perceiving yourself in a positive way so others perceive you in a similar fashion. But I just have to share something else quickly.

I’m sitting here, outside on one of the hottest days in the Niagara Peninsula this summer. I love it – I love the heat. I might complain about it from time to time, but I love the summer heat.

Anyway, I hear the faint “plop………. plop” getting louder and louder, and then I look up and realize that a van is approaching. Hanging out of said van is a pair of children’s arms. The child is sitting there comfortably, in an assumed air-conditioned van, throwing out newspapers rolled up and secured with elastics onto driveways.

My brows furrowed and my face contorted into a “what the….” expression.

“When did we get so lazy?” I thought.

Why are these parents spending their time driving their 11-year-old around in a van so that they can get paid to deliver newspapers? A job that, usually, is a child’s first opportunity to learn about responsibility with money, earning their own income by safely delivering newspapers to customers who are expecting the same timely delivery every day.

When I was little, I had a couple of different newspaper delivery routes. I delivered those papers in the hot summer sun, in the cold winter snow, in blizzards and in rainstorms – BY MYSELF. I remember the rain coming down so hard one day that, when I was done delivering papers, I took off my shoes and walked back to my house in the river that became of our street. I maybe had my parents help a few times, when it was really nasty out there. But for the most part, especially on beautiful, hot summer days like today, I was out there by myself, doing the job I was hired to do, earning my own money. My parents weren’t hired for the job – I was. It was my way of proving to my parents that I was responsible. What kind of responsibility would I be proving if they were driving me around every day to deliver these newspapers?

And what’s more – I realized that the newspapers have been delivered like this ever since I arrived 6 weeks ago – at the end of the driveway, rolled up and secured with an elastic. So that likely means that the delivery method is the same as what I witnessed today. Today there isn’t a blizzard, there isn’t a huge rainstorm. It’s just hot. Which is not abnormal for here. So why drive them around and basically do it for them?

In my humble opinion, this is not teaching your child about responsibility. It’s teaching them that there’s an easy way out of everything, and that’s not how the real world works.

It really just irks me. Of course, there could be extenuating circumstances that would prevent an eager child from delivering newspapers the way you or I may think is the “normal” way. And granted, I’m not there yet. My kids aren’t old enough, so we aren’t finding ourselves in this situation. Maybe they have soccer practise and its interfering with the timely delivery of the newspapers once in a while. But for the most part, a decision would have to be made – soccer, or delivery route. And so I thought, I wonder what you, my readers, believe? How do you feel about something like this? Or am I missing something?

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