Sunday, May 02, 2010

Raising Good Kids - In The Words of A Teenager - My Lawn Boy Interview!

Yesterday I went outside to pay my "lawn boy" for two weeks worth of work.

I bent down through the deck to catch him as he walked by with the lawn mower. He saw me and stopped the lawn mower. Handing the money to him with a "my husband left money for you." He said, "Thank you" and reached for the money. As I was about to turn around and go inside (I don't want to waste anyone's time, he was working) he said, "How have you been?"

We talked for about 20 minutes. He really is such a great kid!

What did we talk about? Well, it wasn't about the weather, the lawn, girlfriends or school. We talked about parenting, religion, and hard work.

"Vinnie" is one of those kids that makes you proud just by knowing him. He is a hard worker (three jobs), works with the food pantry getting donations, a downhill skier who has his eyes on the Olympics and he's a good looking kid who last year when he was shirtless in my driveway, me run in the house shielding my eyes because he was 15 years old and although I am a dirty old lady. I am not THAT dirty.

I asked him about his medals (fastest in all groups was just one of them) and told him how proud we were of him. Then I asked, what his mother did right and what he suggests for my kids to turn out even half as good as he has.

How does a 16 year old know exactly what he wants to do?
Volunteer to do Community Service?
Hold 3 jobs?

He said, "you guys are doing exactly what my mom did. She stayed very involved. Kept us off the streets. Out of town. Stayed on top of us, making us always accountable for our actions. Got us into sports and made us go to Church every Sunday."

When I asked if he ever felt like he was missing out on things his friends were involved in, he "yes, when I was younger but now I see how they have no ambition and how pathetic they all seem, hanging out in front of the stores on the ave at night. No jobs! No goals." I want to live like I'm 20. I want to drive a nice car, go out to eat at nice restaurants, go down the shore. I want to have a full life. I believe in God and know he wants me to be good and that one day I will go to Heaven. I don't believe we have to go to Church to pray."

I told him that he should be very proud of himself, that he is a role model for you people and that at 16 I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

This kid has a lot going for himself but I believe that essential parenting created who is. His parents didn't do anything extreme. They stuck to the basis making sure their children were loved, disciplined, had boundaries and his parents were involved in their day to day life.

I love a kid who credits his mother with who he is.

He spoke of the drugs that have moved into my little town and credits his faith and his sports mentality as to why he hasn't participated. I knew that drugs were around but hearing how bad they are scares me.

We left off with me doing the mother lecture. "Keep up the good work. We are very proud of you. Stay focused. There is plenty of time for girls and just make sure whoever you choose is worth your time. I will be watching you!"

When I stepped off the deck, I thought, his mother did a wonderful job and my goodness, he is so polite and has such great manners. My kids need to hang out with him! But, also I was so happy to know that he believes that my husband and I are doing a wonderful job and that he SEES how involved we are with them, even from the outside. We KNOW how involved we are but it is nice to know that it is being noticed.


  1. Anonymous7:20 PM

    wow he is a wonderful boy. His parents must be so proud of him. I am so glad to hear that he wants to better himself and become a "MAN". Good for him. I wish him the best of luck in his future.

  2. What a nice conversation to have with a great young man. I know that you and your hubby are doing a terrific job with your kids, but it is nice to see that people in your neighborhood see it also. Keep up the great work and I know that both Handsome and Goddess will turn out as wonderful as "Vinnie."

    BTW, I have tagged you with a photo meme:

  3. Sounds like a young man to be admired. Great post!


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