Get A Job – Parenting Your Kids Towards Life’s Release Points

Last night, I spend a couple of hours helping my daughter deliver her first job applications to potential employers.

Hannah turned 16 in November, and she is a week away from taking the test for her driver’s license.  This means she will need money for car insurance and gas.  She has done babysitting for a few years, but she has never had a “real” job.  (Some of the babysitting jobs I had as a teenager were some of the most challenging, stretching experiences I had as a working young adult.)

We stopped at a local ice cream place to drop off her first application.  I waited in the car while she went up to the window.  She had the opportunity to speak with one of the owners which I thought was a positive.  She was asked to consider whether or not she would work during the school year or not before she submitted her application.  With a busy athletic and academic schedule during the school year, this will be a tough decision for her.  She then applied on-line for another job when we arrived back at the house.

As I thought about my daughter’s job search adventure, I tried to recall my first “real” job.  I cut a lot of grass and shoveled a lot on snow.  I was the “caretaker” for an eleven acre piece of property owned by an elderly couple from my church.  Then I washed dishes at a retirement center in the community which was connected to our church.  I worked for a land surveyor who went to the church where I grew up.  I painted one summer, and I worked for a medical billing company.  Both of these jobs were with people who went to the church where I went.  I don’t think I had to apply for any of these jobs.  They were all the result of connections.

It wasn’t I went to college and needed a job that I actually applied for a job.  I ended up applying for a job as a dishwasher in one of the dining halls on campus.  I don’t remember the interview process, but I must have passed the test.  I washed dishes for a couple of months before being promoted to dining hall supervisor.

As a dad, I wanted to jump out of the car and talk to the owner of the ice cream shop.  Maybe, I’ll provide a connection that leads to her first job, or maybe she’ll go through the process herself.  I want to help and protect my daughter, but I also want to make sure she has the opportunity to grow up.

Parenting isn’t always easy.  You raise your children.  You teach them.  You point them in the direction you feel is right.  And then, you release them like an arrow leaves a bow-string hoping they will fly straight.

We are in a series of release points with our kids.  They are becoming more and more independent.

I pray for wisdom for my wife and me as we parent, and I pray for my kids as they approach their release points.

How have you handled the release points for your kids?  How did your parents handle the various release points in your life?

What was the first job for which you had to apply?