I took on a second job this past week, one that is filled with hard work and lots of young people. It’s a friend’s restaurant, so while I can provide hard work and no drama, it is also a great way to earn a little extra cash and workout. Because I am getting a great workout from slinging dishes!
The kids that work there are probably no different than those I grew up with when I was younger. Although I seem to think that kids today grow up way too fast. It also reminds me how lucky I was to have parents that said don’t work while you are in high school. I didn’t have my first job until I graduated from high school and even then, it was as a Girl Friday for an orthodontist, not exactly backbreaking work.
It also underscores the small town mentality that is prevalent back home. There is one kid who, at 19, is expecting his first child in July. They scratch their heads with puzzling looks at why I moved away at 21. While many of friend has moved back or never left, saying it is a great place to raise a family, I still balk at that statement. I want to raise my hypothetical kids in a city. One that has something to offer them, to challenge them as well as allow them to learn that not everybody is kind. I got my first taste of this when I visited NYC for the first time. One night, some of my friends witnessed a priest being mugged right outside of our hotel. I was also made aware of how things are different in larger cities while heading to my internship in college. A funeral procession was coming down Briley and I made the mistake of slowing down, ready to pull off as a sign of respect. They don’t really do that in Nashville or at least on the main roads.
The kids talk of drinking and sex like that is a normal part of their lives. I just stood there in awe of how much they are missing out on. They act as if they are in their late 20s, saying things that they think will impress others. I wasn’t impressed nor was I convinced that they “get” the consequences of their actions.
I will be honest, I drank before I was 21 but it was an rare occasions. I was a late bloomer in a lot of areas. But I did have the guidance of a great friend who was a few years older that made me understand that you always have to be responsible.
A good friend of mine laments that she worries for her daughters and the pitfalls of temptations of growing up too fast. I told her that it is a case of being open and honest with them. To explain that there are consequences to their actions and not to be afraid to discuss those embarrassing issues, like sex, to them. A thirty minute, embarrassing conversation about sex is a whole lot better than being told by one of her daughters that she is pregnant.
As much as I would love to sit them down and tell them the truth, the things that I learned when I was younger, I know they won’t listen. The girls think that they are cute, provocative and alluring. The boys think they are macho. The 19 year old that is about to become a father, just shrugs it off, saying, my parents are your age. . . yep, they are and I can bet that if they had it to do over again, they would probably think twice about it. He thinks that knocking a girl up makes him a stud. I see it as a kid that is now forced to grow up quickly and realize that he is going to miss some of the fun that could have been because he has to support a baby on minimum wage.
So for now, I am going to bust my butt and bus those tables. Reminding myself that it is a great workout and a great way to fend off any cravings of pizza. And cringe every time I have to put on those ugly work shoes. . .