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A rare sight

This week, I was a witness to something that parents and school teachers vision in their dreams. While covering Mission:McDuffie, I saw a lot of teens doing manual labor. And they were doing so with smiles on their faces. I know all parents of teens are pushing their chins back up right now. Those same young people who don't pick up their clothes from the floor, leave half-empty soda bottles and burger wrappers in your car and act like pushing a lawn mower is a form of torture used at the Hanoi Hilton, were doing volunteer work for God this week. Notice I said "volunteer." Evidently God's got better pull than parents, because no one was getting a bonus on their allowance. The sign in front of each work project said "Mission:McDuffie Project - Hearts to God, Hands to Man." So I applaud the young people and the adults working with them for working up a sweat and applying the lesson of "doing unto others." Everyone I talked to - the teens, the adults in charge and the recipients - were very happy. Good, hard work and helping others has a way of doing that for a person.

I had to pick up my own chin last week when I came home from work and found a spotless apartment. Not only were the usual chores done, but my own chores were completed, also. Someone had gone above and beyond the call of duty. I've been the parent of a teenager for five years now, so I am experienced enough to be suspicious when one of them does that much work without being asked - or threatened - or a fire lit under their proverbial tail.

In this case, the particular son with the dishpan hands and the hopeful look in his eyes was my 13-year-old who had been searching online and found the baseball bat of his dreams. As luck would have it, the bat was going for $100 off its original price. His luck continued as the discovery of the great bat sale coincided with a temporary increase in my bank account. A while back, he had earned and saved to purchase a bat, and then I borrowed the money in a time of need. So he had been waiting for such a day to come. Having lived with his mother for 13 years, he, too, was experienced enough to know that the extra work would be a good measure to keep his luck going.

But the luck stops there. With the current price of bats, "$100 off" still left a few Franklin's in the picture. So, there's no homerun scored yet. It seems a teen's desire and the reality of a mom's checkbook both need a little more work.

Web posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007

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