This past Sunday, my family and I visited a new Asian restaurant in our neighborhood for lunch. My wife and I decided we wanted to go out for lunch after church, and a few friends recommended the new place, so we decided to stop and give it a try.
The restaurant was small and in a shopping center, and was nearly full. Almost every table was occupied by people eating some delicious smelling food. We took our seats eagerly and after a brief wait, a very busy waitress came and took our order.
Lunch was fantastically delicious and a fantastic value, so much so that we were happily forced to take our leftovers home with us. There was simply too much food to eat; better still, we were actually looking forward to enjoying our leftovers.
When we went to pay for our bill at the cashier station, I was somewhat taken aback to see such a young cashier. She managed the transaction without a flaw, quickly and easily running our credit card and providing us our receipt. When I asked her, she confessed that she was ten years old, and that her mother and father owned the restaurant and cooked the food, while her two older sisters waited tables and her even younger (7 years) brother helped her parents in the kitchen.
She isn’t wasting time texting with friends. She isn’t playing video games or hanging out at the mall. She isn’t sleeping away the most formative years if her life. Instead, she’s learning how to make a profit. She’s learning how to provide excellent service to her customers. She’s learning the value of a dollar and the result of a hard day’s work. She’s learning exactly much return she gets on her investment. She’s learning responsibility and maturity at an age when her peers are still playing with dolls and watching cartoons.
She is on her way to a positive, productive, successful future, while the vast majority of her contemporaries will fail at basic communication skills, never appreciate the importance of learning a marketable skill, and labor under the assumption that they are owed a living. The chances of this girl ever becoming a liberal, joining Occupy Wall Street or voting for a Progressive Democrat are almost exactly zero. To do any of those things would be to betray the very things that have will have ensured her success.
This is the most valuable education she and her siblings will ever receive. If she goes on to college, earns a PhD. in physics, and discovers a means to create an antimatter reactor, what she learned working as a cashier in a Chinese food place and the weekends with her family at the age of 10 will still have been one of the most critical elements of her education.
Would that all of our children could learn the same lessons.
I will be dining at her restaurant as frequently as I can. She has earned my business.
Vladimir Davidiuk | University at St. Thomas | @VladDavidiuk