Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Carwashing and teenage life lessons

Has this ever happened to you? The teenager comes in and says "dad, I want to wash the car". You think, great! They wash the car, you give em' a few bucks: less than the auto machine would cost. Money and Energy saved! Yours at least.
Then the car dries and you go to inspect it... You can see every spot where they swirled the sponge in fancy circles and let the soap dry, or where they simply waved at the dirt on the fender. Yet despite the obvious lack of actual effort to truly clean the car they stand there with pride on their face and a hand out for their well deserved money. Is this a time for a life lesson, will this child see their errors? How do we ensure they grow and learn from this?
Well it was getting late that day so I told her she could finish the next day and do a better job. Of course the next day she wanted to go to one of her favorite hangouts for a while. Aha: insert life lesson here. I told her she had a job to finish and finish correctly, of course she was irritated about making her do something when she wanted to go play. But we went out and started on it anyway despite the griping and grumbling. I started to show her how to make sure she covered everyspot with the sponge and then quickly rinse it off, as it progressed her mood recovered to a dull "I'm a teenager and adults just want to keep me locked up" attitude. Finally we had one whole side done and we left the rest for the next day. I told her thank-you and she actually looked like she was a little bit proud of her work.
So hopefully the lesson learned was that if you are going to do anything it needs to be done right. Especially if you want money for it.

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