When my kids were growing up, I paid them for certain chores - chores outside the norm. I still do. But now, they have found employment outside the home.
With school, activities and busy social lives, it seems impossible these days for young people to have a steady job like we did when we were growing up. But, somehow, my girls have pieced together part-time jobs here and there to develop what I consider a pretty healthy work-life.
When I think about it, these experiences are as important, if not more important, then the activities they do outside of school. They learn to balance their schedules, to negotiate their time, to work with different types of personalities, to be committed, to do things they aren't always thrilled with. In short, they learn real-world skills that aren't always gleaned in a sport or an artistic endeavor.
Both of my daughters occasionally work for a friend who is a photographer as assistants. My younger daughter is also an enthusiastic babysitter who loves children and takes her role very seriously. My older daughter has just started tutoring elementary school children and has developed quite an aptitude for it.
When I think back to all the jobs I had before I became a television reporter, I realize how much they shaped me in my development into a young adult. I was a babysitter, a dog walker, a house sitter, a bank teller, a waitress (in MANY restaurants), a T-shirt designer, a movie theater ticket salesperson, a cafeteria line worker, a cashier, a CD salesperson, a radio announcer ... and I'm quite sure I've forgotten a few roles!
Basically, I worked in odd jobs from the age of 16 until I officially entered television in 1989.
And while I can't begin to quantify or qualify the lessons I learned in all these jobs, I know they were instrumental in preparing me for my career. So, ultimately, I don't think it really matters what our kids do in terms of work, it's just important that they do something.
Oh, and there is that thing about learning the value of a dollar. That's why my dad wanted me to work. We're still working on that one in our house!
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books, including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.