So, not only did the Teen offer to unload boxes in exchange for lunch from the school cafeteria, now Middle has decided that he is going to come up with a way to make money for the things he needs. He normally mows lawns, but since that is not an option until late Spring, he's been trying to come up with a creative idea.
He took the Red Cross babysitting course last summer, so he's certified in infant and child First Aid and CPR. He also assists in teaching the younger kids' classes at the dojang and is extremely patient (yet firm) with hyperactive little kids. I think that if he decided to market himself as a babysitter, he'd be pretty successful.
We've also been talking about other things he could do. Trying to think Outside the Box. Selling stuff on eBay or Etsy. Printing and selling tee-shirts. Homework help.
The thing that really makes me happy is the fact that, when faced with a sudden hardship situation, their reaction wasn't to whine or complain about the shift to "necessities only" spending, but to immediately start thinking of ways they could contribute and take some of the burden off of us. Not only does it make us feel good that they understand and care and want to help, but I'm sure in a way it makes them feel empowered to know that they have some control over the situation and don't have to just helplessly stand by and wait until things get better.
So very, very grateful for these boys, and for the opportunity to see first-hand that the work we have done to try to teach them to be independent and self-reliant might actually be paying off.