Winter is replaced by the buds and flowers of spring, cabin fever is retreating, and maybe you’ve already done school outside for the first time this year! The time has come to start thinking about summer.
Your freshman is now a rising sophomore (hard to believe!). As summer plans unfold, add to the discussion the possibility of a summer job.
My dad wanted me to have the experience of starting and running my own job, so before I even started high school we started a small business selling homemade ice cream at craft fairs and events around the state. That experience gave me drive, focus, and an understanding of business that serves me well to this day.
Your student probably doesn’t drive yet, which makes a summer job more of a commitment for you than anything else – but there are many positions that are flexible with your family schedule. Below are some benefits to making the summer job commitment with your student’s future in mind:
Resume and experience
The connections and ethics developed by getting a job early are a launching pad to your child’s future endeavors. Each job provides hands-on training, knowledge, and a network of people that equip your student for the next step.
Summer jobs are rarely “career” positions but they still flesh out a young person’s resume with practical skills. These make him much more hireable a few years from now when he’s competing against fellow 17-year-olds for a higher paying summer job.
Work ethic and Communication
The student who is 1) on time; 2) works hard; and 3) doesn’t complain about his boss is already three steps ahead of most employees – regardless of age! Early exposure to the workplace teaches students to work for someone other than their parents. This reveals that the principles mom and dad are teaching – respect, diligence, and promptness – are qualities expected by adult society as a whole. Accountability to a non-parental authority figure can cement some of those principles in your child’s mind.
Working outside the home also improves communication. It’s easy to talk to mom or dad; it’s comfortable and familiar. Outside the home, your student must learn to look people in the eye, answer directly, and give an account for his productivity at work.
Paying for College
Isn’t it a little early to think about paying for college? Actually, no. For most middle-class families, the average annual income is enough on which to live, but too much for the federal government to consider for need-based aid. Many families are shocked when the final cost of college is much higher than expected.
This is a great motivator for your student to begin saving early on. Not only will he have a significant advantage over students who graduate college with a burden of debt, he will appreciate his education that much more – because he earned it!