Boring Man Jobs

dirt bikeThis morning I kind of hollered down the hall at work to several co-workers, “I’m paying the little boys fifteen dollars each to take all the Christmas lights off the outside of the house today.”

Someone asked, “Are they supervised?” That’s a reasonable question.

“No,” I said, “But Sam and Sandor are twelve now. I figured if they are old enough to ride a dirt bike and shoot an AR 15 sniper rifle they are old enough to take down the Christmas lights.   I don’t want them to get the grown up good stuff  and not the boring man skills.”

After I said it I realized how smart and right I was!

In my desire to give my kids the best life, the most active life, a well rounded and meaningful life, I’m sometimes guilty of forgetting life isn’t all about the “awesome stuff”.  Real life is full of tedious, boring and necessary chores.

Now that Sandor knows how to handle an assault rifle I’m sure he’ll be able to keeps us safe during a zombie apocalypse but in the mean time I need him to step up and help with some normal “man jobs”.  We live in the county so he needs to know how to burn all the boxes and wrapping paper from Christmas in a safe manner, unsupervised. He knows not to use gas to get things going. And he better understand he needs to tend the  smoky fire with a rake and access to a hose without wandering off to chase a lizard or letting it get too big even though that looks really cool.

Now that he can jump his 125 dirt bike across the creek, I need him to climb up the ladder and take all the Christmas lights off the house and sweep the roof.  And I shouldn’t have to watch him.

I want my kid to be brave and cool, all parents do.  But I need him to be practical too. Even after he makes his bed it looks like there’s a Great Dane sleeping under the covers but he’s pretty good with a staple gun and drill.

Because he’s twelve he likes driving my little truck around a parking lot, that means he’s also old enough to jump start the truck for me on cold mornings…unsupervised.  Because we’ve been doing it together for years.

The truth is, I don’t want my son to grow up because he’s the baby. But it’s my responsibility as a parent to teach him how to be a man…even when it’s not that much fun.

And in return he gets to keep playing with all those “big boy toys.” It’s a fair trade.

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