Philosophy, Urban Homesteading and Self-Reliance

A Down Payment on the Future

The day before Mother’s day, there was an unexpected knock at my door.  I opened it to reveal an earnest young man who wished to know if I’d like my sadly overgrown lawn mowed (In my defense, the lawnmower had broken down halfway thought the job two weeks before and I hadn’t gotten it fixed yet).  A born salesman with good instincts, he told me they wanted to earn some money to purchase gifts for their mothers the next day.  He told me to pay whatever I wanted and they would bring the mower and get it done.

Twenty dollars, an hour and a half of Three Stooges quality entertainment, and a gallon of sweet tea later, the lawn was neatly mowed and all the edges trimmed.  True, some of my young mulberry trees were rather shorter than before, but all in all they did a great job.  As they packed up their things to find another lawn, I was asked if I’d like them to come back when the grass needed cut again.  I told them yes, not really believing they would.

Another knock this morning revealed the young men with their mower and trimmer, ready to go.  I was just getting ready to go to work, so I handed the twenty I intended to pay them to one of them.  He looked at me with earnest blue eyes and told me they wouldn’t take it until the lawn was finished.  But I assured him that I trusted them to do a good job, reminded him of the flowers and mulberry trees, and headed off to work.

The more frugal among you may think it a poor deal to pay twenty dollars every few weeks to have my grass cut when I could easily cut it myself.  But I can’t imagine a better way to spend my money.  These boys are actually looking for work.  They are developing a work ethic and acquiring skills that will help them through the rest of their lives.  Their mower may be old and cranky, but it is far more valuable than a new one.  The time they spend fixing it teaches them about mechanical issues and patience in the most practical way possible.  They are learning to live up to responsibility and the rewards of hard work.  These boys are well on their way to becoming young men who will be ready some day to take the reins of society.

What could be more valuable than that?



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