Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Weeding - Not Reading!

Growing up in Northern California, every summer we had to hack down the tinder dry grasses growing on the back hill of my parent's yard. It was miserable, hot work. It was one of the things I really hated doing. It seemed like whenever I wanted to play ball with friends or just hang out, my dad would have a list of chores for me to do. It never ended. Maybe now I'm turning into my old man? Our son probably thinks so...

Yesterday there was a comment raising concerns over the possible removal of some mature trees as part of plan to build a new South City baseball field in Wilmore Park. Now, growing trees in St. Louis is not a problem. I should know. The picture above is a shot of our back yard. This year, as part of our regular yard work, we had to pull out over 100 volunteer baby trees. They sprout like crazy. St. Louis is like living in a rainforest, especially this year. We have to fight back mother nature from taking over the yard.

So it's the waning days of summer and teenagers nowadays want to do the same stuff they've always wanted to do - have fun and sleep in. No problem there. But mother nature is relentless in her efforts to take over our yard. So with teen son now taller than me, I'm thinking it's fair for him to pitch in a little more on house work.

On top of the occasional house work demands, he's got a summer reading list for high school. He's required to read and report on between one and three books. Read and weed. That's what he's supposed to be doing. Besides everything on his to do list, which includes band pratices, hanging out with his friends, sleeping in, and whatever else comes up.

Being a teen, he needs pocket money for date nights, snow cones, etc, so I made him a little business proposal: weed this section of yard, and I'll pay you $20. Finish half, and you get $10, etc. But it's got to be done by Friday. So last night I asked him, "Have you started weeding yet?"

"Yeah, I finished one chapter".

"Not reading, weeding!"

"Uh, no." He hadn't. Not really a big surprise.

The good thing is, weeding here is pretty light work. With all the rain we get, the weeds come out pretty easy. Nonetheless, it's boring, lousy stuff, no matter what.

Too much? Not enough? What do you think? How many hours a week of chores are reasonable to expect out of a teenager? Do you push your kids to help out a lot around the house?

No comments: