Joey has a job. He has spent the last three months employed as a ski/snowboard instructor at Mountain High, a ski resort about an hour away from our house.
My first job was at Kentucky Fried Chicken. For real.
Needless to say, he is very happy with his situation. He teaches 7-10 year olds of various levels how to learn or improve in their chosen snow genre. Before this season, he didn't understand why anyone would ski, as snowboarding was so clearly superior to skiing, but now he has discovered an equal appreciation for both.
He really is the perfect man-child for the job. He is passionate about mountain snow sports, he has always had a particular talent for them, and as the oldest of our seven children he has plenty of experience applicable to rounding up a class full of kids. It has become his habit to spend his weekends lunching with his young proteges, and has consumed many a plate of dino-shaped chicken nuggets with carrots and ranch dressing. I love picturing this.
Along with this job has come a bank account and a debit card, so things are changing a bit around here. He fully funds his own account and has access to the money he has earned. Mostly he is saving for accessories for his Jeep, but I know it is nice for him to be able to get food when he wants without having to ask us for money. The statement comes to us every month and we can always check online to see how he is managing his money. It is a good first step to financial freedom.
Today Tony took Joey's beginning ski class. It is the first time this season he has made it up the mountain, so he was very excited. He had the choice between taking the beginning ski class or the higher level snowboarding class with another instructor. Tony is a devoted snowboarder and his choice reflected his admiration and love for his big brother. It really made me happy.
What made me even happier was that his lesson was free and his lift ticket was free based on Joey's work credits. Every certain number of hours worked earns Joey a free lift ticket and he used this one on Tony. Good boy!
Sam, by the way, doesn't need any lessons. Joey taught him long before he was a pro. I doubt Sam will ever try skis. Julia and Bella also prefer to snowboard while Lindsey, Jay and I are sticking with what we know--skis. Natalie has yet to give snow sports a try...she'd rather build a snowman.
The only problem with a job like Joey's is that it is dependent on the weather. In a state dealing with a serious drought, it has been a year with little snow. What snow we have received has melted quickly and it is too warm most days to blow snow. Last week the Winter Sports school was closed due to poor conditions and Joey thought the season was over, but lo and behold a decent storm showed up this weekend and dumped fresh powder just in time. The snow was so good today that after his classes he stayed up and skied several hours with friends. (Don't worry, we remembered to pick Tony up at the end of his lesson.)
Jay and I are happy to see him getting work experience (especially the kind that makes him get out of the house on time because he is accountable to his students), and the fact that he is doing what he loves to do is really beautiful. The way he has figured out how to get to mass each weekend at various times and places according to his schedule makes us proud.
Jobs are a part of life and so much of how we perceive ourselves comes from our success in employment. if you can find a way to do what really inspires you and get paid for it too, that is about as good as it gets. I hope his future career will give him as much satisfaction as this first job has!