Child labor. Conjures up creepy thoughts of foreign sweatshops and factories huh? Of child slave laborers working perilously while breathing toxic chemicals as they deftly unmold rubber for tennis shoes or something right?
Or doe eyed tots hauling brick with their two little hands, lugging buckets bigger than they of sand with sweat on their tiny brow asking,
“Is it lunch time yet, Grandma?”
“Not yet sweetie, keep tamping.”
“Great Job!” says Grandpa.
I must admit the exploitation of children around the globe has baffled me at times. News and images have influenced and confused me about what is appropriate work for children. Yes, I said work. Work seems to be a four letter word in our culture to be avoided in the context of childhood experience. Do you gently suggest the kiddos do some? Bribe them? Or strongly encourage them with the understanding that the alternative won’t be worth it. Work ethic doesn’t come naturally for most of us humans. It’s taught and learned through experience. By doing, and doing just a bit beyond suffice and capability so as to stretch our meddle and give us confidence in our abilities.
At Grandma and Grandpa’s there is always a work in progress and we’d feel neglectful if we didn’t press our visiting grandchildren into appropriate labor. To take the opportunity to impart to each of them a little work ethic.
And the satisfaction that comes from a job well done.
Then we all have some ice cream. And get yet another lesson from Grandpa.
“Keep cranking! No one eats for free.”