Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Be Strong and Courageous, and Do the Work!

Grant receiving an award at the
end of 5th grade
Grant - our oldest - will be starting junior high in the fall.  I really can't believe it.  I've written a bazillion blog posts in my head about this fact alone - none of which made it to paper.  These kids just don't stop growing up.

Last year he went to boys camp at Twin Rocks.  We made him contribute $100 of his own money toward the cost of camp.  He protested wildly, but came home from camp convinced it was worth every penny.  He has spent the last twelve months scooping dog poop for our neighbors and saving birthday money and allowance money to make enough to go back to Twin Rocks.  When we registered him for camp this year, he gladly forked over his $100 even though it basically cleaned out his bank account.  He knew it was worth it.

But then he went to his first junior high youth group meeting.  When I picked him up, he was jacked up on candy and pancakes.  He also couldn't stop talking about The Grand Tour, a week of junior high camp, Solid Rock style.  He just HAD to go.  I agreed, until he told me it was $245 per kid.  I looked at my cute boy - eyes all lit up and excited - and said, "Well son, get a job."  He deflated before my eyes and said, "But Mom.  I'm only eleven.  What can I do?  Who would hire me?"

We discussed his skill set: Dog Poop Scooper, Pet Sitter (except when he accidentally kills the expensive frog of the boy next door but we're certain that won't happen again), Weed Puller, Newspaper Picker-Upper, and Plant Waterer.  We both agreed these skills were not going to net $250 in six weeks.

I've been wanting him to learn to mow the grass for two years, so I told him we'd teach him how to mow and then he could add Lawn Mower to his list of skills.  He agreed and we sent our neighbors an email marketing his skills.  By the next day, he had a summer job mowing the grass and monitoring the chlorine level in our neighbor's hot tub.  SCORE!  (By the way - we have the best neighbors ever.)

Sarah - who is lovely in every way - wanted to help Grant out.  So she hired him to wash her car, inside and out.  He had never washed a car before, so she put him on the phone with her Dad.  Mr. Wilmot talked strategy on how to wash a car, gave Grant a list of supplies he'd need to do the job well, and suggested that he write up a pamphlet advertising his skills.  Grant took detailed notes and then Sarah took him to the store.  They came back equipped with everything needed to clean Sarah's car and then got to work.  Two and a half hours and one epic water fight later, Sarah had a clean car,  Grant had $20, the title Car Washer, and an idea for a new company.

He used his notes from his brainstorming session with Sarah and Mr. Wilmot to write up an advertising brochure.  Once it was complete, he asked me to be the Marketing Manager for Grant's Car Care Company.  I took his advertising campaign and blasted it on Facebook.  He wrote:  

Dear Customers:  I am glad that you have decided to get your car washed by Grant's Car Care Company.  I am open most weekdays 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., but weekends are available by appointment only.  I will wash and rinse the outside of your car and do the tires, vacuum the inside and do windows from the inside.  Bring your cars to my house to have them washed.  I charge $15.00 to have your car both washed and vacuumed, or $7.50 for either/or.  An average inside and out takes an average of 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 and a half hours depending on the condition your car is in and the size of your car.  Quality is my goal, so time may vary.  Call or email if you are interested or want to learn more.  I'll see you there!  - Grant Stilp

Within minutes of posting, he had his first customer.  And they kept coming.  I had to print off his schedule so he could keep track of everything.  He got jobs mowing grass, picking up newspapers, walking dogs, and washing cars.  His face was one big smile.  Isn't God good that way?

The car washing made me nervous.  I was pretty certain I would have to be outside monitoring his work, helping him, and making sure he did it correctly.  But Grant didn't want me anywhere around Grant's Car Care Company.  He was the owner and operator and he had it under control.  His first car took him two hours.  I almost fell over when I came to inspect it.  It was perfect - like a professional had detailed it.  The owners thought so too and even gave him a tip.  

He washed a car on Thursday.  Then one on Saturday.  Sunday morning he got up at 7 a.m. so he could wash a car and have it finished before we left for church at 9 a.m.  He did it all without complaining, finishing each car to perfection.  Today he washed two cars and experienced his first frustration with having a job.  He ran out of car soap and the back-up soap didn't get sudsy enough for his liking.  He felt he wasn't "delivering a great product" and then had to buy another jug of soap with his own money.  The plastic attachment on the hose broke so he and Curt had to fix it after dinner instead of play, because Grant has three cars on the schedule for tomorrow.  It's a lot of work being a business owner.

At bedtime tonight Grant was tired and discouraged.  Big plans require big work.  I gave him a little pep talk about persevering and working hard and then put him to bed.  When I sat down to read my assigned Bible reading, I had to laugh.  

I Chronicles 28 summarizes King David's desire to build a temple for the Lord.  God said, "No.  I gave you the vision, but I want your son Solomon to do the work. " So King David used the latter part of his life to lay the groundwork for Solomon to do the job well.  David drew up plans, organized supplies, and put things in order.  Then he called Solomon in for a meeting and gave him the plan.  After David finished his careful instructions, he said to his son, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished."

I wrote the verse out on a 3x5 card with an "I'm so proud of how hard you're working" note to give to Grant in the morning.  I know he'll be encouraged.

I don't know what work you have facing you.  But I do have a message for you. Be strong and courageous, and do the work.  Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you!


  1. That verse really struck me the other day too. I thought wow, I didn't realize Solomon was scared about building the temple. I'm thankful Grant is learning the fruit of hard work. Earning that money for camp will make him appreciate it all the more. It's too bad we're not in the area my van can always use a good cleaning! :)

    1. We can always make it a play date Carissa. You come down. We hang out. Kids play. Grant works. Ashley's doing it today!