“You Get What You Pay For” By Chris Zito

I’ve always been of the opinion that the single greatest reason to have children is the free labor.

This crew can get a tremendous amount of yard work done in one afternoon
and all it will cost is a fluffernutter and some kool-aid.

There is a short window of time when your kids are excited to help and can actually do it. Too young and you must painstakingly supervise so they don’t cut their own foot off with the lawn mower or flood the kitchen while doing the dishes. Once they’re teenagers they view helping the folks with household chores as a necessary evil to  complete before they can have the car.

“Okay, my room is reasonably clean. Now hurry up and
let me out before someone sees me with you. “

My Dad was an expert at getting the maximum out of his homegrown workforce. My brothers and I all learned all there was to learn about yard work by the time each of us was ten. Dad would start grooming us when we barely eight.
“Look how your older brother cuts that grass. Wow!”
As the youngest, just hearing that made me desperate to cut the grass.  I’d be begging to cut the grass! Finally he would relent and cut a small square of grass and watch as I mowed it down. The square got bigger and bigger so that just as my older brothers drove off with their buddies I entered my prime  free labor years fully trained and raring to go! My father is some kind of evil parenting genius.

I got to use the cool mower Dad couldn’t afford when my brothers were around.

Yesterday I finally broke down and put away the deck furniture and (sigh) the hammock. I insisted Vince, my five-year old, come outside to help Daddy “put away all the summer stuff.”  The kid can’t dismantle the hammock frame. He can’t help me move the gas grill. He’s five. I humped it for two hours moving furniture, cleaning the shed, and rearranging everything from gardening tools to coolers. Vince spent that time finding bugs, spinning in circles, and doing perfect bicep curls with a miniature rake. He earned every penny I paid him.

Thanks for reading. Tell your pals.
Chris Zito


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