This summer I suggested that we not push Nate to get a job. He needed something to keep himself busy, though. Just something to be productive.
Nate has been open to working, but each time we talk about actually going out and applying for jobs, he's had a somewhat violent reaction to it. Finally Mensa Boy said he thought it was the actual talking to strangers and asking for something that might be the problem. Nate is not terribly assertive. He's also expressed concern about boredom. He doesn't want to run a cash register for hours, or stack boxes, or make pizzas. He wanted something interesting. Boredom is really his biggest concern always, which my principal friend Kathy says is common with gifted kids.
It's been easy to knuckle under to his willingness to seek a job because any job he has will have a profound effect on my own life. I would be responsible for driving him to and from said job. And the job would probably take at least 20 minutes to get to, and 20 minutes back. Twice each shift. That's time I'd just as soon not spend driving around in the heat.
So I told him I'd give him a 'bye' on this job thing if he found a way to volunteer. I said he needed to find something that would occupy him 15-20 hours per week. And then I suggested the school.
So for the last two weeks, Nate has been going to our elementary/middle school and being an errand boy for the staff. He has sat with kids during summer school as they work on their reading, supervised bathroom breaks, served snack, shredded office papers, organized keys that have been turned in by the staff, and stacked textbooks.
One day last week the principal told me that they were all arguing about who got him the next day.
He's grumpy each morning...struggling to get up and have breakfast so I can get him the school by 8. But by the time I pick him up at noon or so he's in a good mood, feeling pretty good about what he's accomplished and full of stories of joshing with the staff. One day this week I dropped him off and asked my friend to be sure he got a ride home, as Mensa Boy and I were going to be gone for the day. As I signed him into the computer for the day, I entered his name in as "Dontleave Mehear" and he wore that nametag all morning. Kathy fed him Japanese for lunch and dropped him at home.
I think it's a good experience and will probably keep him occupied most of the summer. We have a lot of moving going on in the school buildings this summer as the high school moves to a new building, renovations begin on the old building to make it into a new middle school, and classrooms are shifted around in the current elementary building.
The downside to this volunteering is that Nate gets no money. For stuff. Like taking his girlfriend out to dinner when she comes to town (she lives an hour or so away), or just to buy things he wants.
One of the items that he kinded of needed was a new mp3 player. His was not compatible with Napster and it's pretty much worn out. It doesn't hold a charge very long. Nate will be going to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards conference at Erskine College next week and I knew he'd be missing that mp3 player by the end of the first day. It only charges by plugging it into a computer, which he won't have.
So I bought him one. I told him it was an "in-kind payment" for his volunteering at the school. And he's been a mother's helper for me in the afternoon, taking the little boys to the pool for a while most days, doing dishes, handling the bird feeders and anything else I can throw his way.
This is his last summer as a kid, I figure. And probably the last summer I'll have with him here. Might as well make the most of it.
Labels: Minutiae, So. How are the children?