It might be harder than ever for teenagers to find a summer job but the benefits are well worth the effort. The most obvious plus is the fact that your teenager will be making money, but that’s just the beginning.

Being employed (or self-employed i.e. mowing lawns, babysitting, etc.) gives your teenager increased responsibility and a taste of “real life” where things like reliability, hard work, and perseverance are appreciated and possibly even rewarded. Summer jobs mean serving others whether that’s the nature of the job (i.e. waitress or waiter) or they’re simply serving their employer.

With all of the positive attributes of summer employment, why isn’t every teenager out job-hunting? Summer jobs can be difficult to find and the they’re not necessarily glamorous. My (Kendra) first summer job was detassling corn. It was hot, very hot, and the workday started way too early in the morning. Some jobs are physically challenging. John spent one summer working for the railroad and put in 10-hour days. Then there are the jobs that are just plain unpleasant like doing janitorial work at the local school.

Parents, even though summer jobs for teenagers can be hard find, unglamorous, physically challenging, and just plain unpleasant, encourage your kids to get one. And when they do be certain they (not you) take personal responsibility for things like setting the alarm clock, working hard, and having a good attitude.

Revisiting a valid teaching point for teenagers accredited to Bill Gates…Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping — they called it opportunity.