The other day while cruising craigslist (remember in my last post about there being time for anything we choose to do?) I came across an ad for a leaf raking job near my work. I mentioned it to Cephas and we discussed it. We went over the details of the job, how to conduct an initial phone conversation, what to say as well as what NOT to say and after rehearsing a few times, Cephas called the phone number listed.
He was sitting on my bed, with my cell on speakerphone between us. He got a voicemail and we VERY quickly went through the details of what to say when leaving a message. Basically the same as the beginning of his conversation that we had already rehearsed with a few extra details thrown in (like our phone number).
Later that evening, the person called us back. I answered the phone and then called to Cephas to come over and talk to the client. I don't know what else to call him so that is what he will be called from this point forward. We had the client on speakerphone again, with the phone between us as they discussed further details about the lawn job and made arrangements for the work to be done. After they were done talking, Cephas and I looked up the house address on Google Maps and the county assessor's website so that we would have an idea of what the house looked like, how big the yard was and to get an idea of what to expect.
This was all done on a Thursday. On the following Saturday, Cephas, siblings and I showed up to meet the client in person and for Cephas to get started. I let Cephas do most of the talking, as he was the worker and I wanted him to learn valuable interpersonal skills by doing so. I was not comfortable just dropping him off and leaving but wanted him to have the freedom and independence to get the job done (and to reduce his distractions with getting the job done by removing his siblings from his work), so the siblings and I "left" but stayed in the same area and let him get to work. We drove back to his location a few times here and there to "check" on him and make sure that everything was going well, which it was. Towards the end, I helped him out (against his wishes) because I could see that he was feeling like he was never going to get it all done. In his defense, it was a windy day, the leaves have just started falling and they were continuing to fall and blow onto the yard, which also had LONG grass that he was working against as well. Even I had trouble getting the yard raked.
Koren and Oralee got involved in the work as well. Koren was a great help at bagging the leaves and Oralee was the perfect size to put into the bag to crush the leaves so that we could get more leaves into the bag. Jeriah slept in his carseat in the van (with an open sliding door and windows on a breezy 75* day) just a few feet from where we were.
By the end of his day, Cephas had earned $20.00, I learned a few things, he learned a few things and developed some great interpersonal skills. He also learned how to create more business for himself. When he was talking to the client at the end, he told the client, "I got the job done but your grass is really long. If you'd like, I can come back tomorrow or Monday and mow it for you." Not bad entreprenuership skills for a ten year old!
And the things that I learned? One was about a product that I had never seen before but which I am now well familiar with. It's basically a cardboard box with no bottom and handles on the top that is the same size and shape of a lawn leaf bag. You put it in the bag and it keeps the bag open and upright and makes it much easier to load leaves into the bag. The second thing was that my children really can pull together and work well together for the benefit of just one of them. They all benefited from Cephas' job being done and being able to leave the area and get along with our plans for the rest of the day, but Cephas also benefited from having help to get the job done, earned money AND valuable experience.
All in all, I'd say it was a pretty good deal! And the client wants Cephas to come back. I figure with some of the skills he learned today, he will be well ready to get the job done next weekend and the weekend after that and the weekend after that...so on and so forth until the leaves stop falling. Based on the number of trees and the different types of trees which drop their leaves at different times that are near the client's home, it could be quite awhile.