While driving with my son, I noticed a “Now Hiring” sign in the window of a soon-to-open restaurant near our home.
“Look, Luke, the new restaurant is hiring.” Honestly, I was not trying to hint at anything other than its impending opening, in spite of his response.
“Maybe I could get a job there,” Luke replied in a deep, dead-serious tone.
“Really?” I asked in disbelief, trying to keep a straight face in an effort to see where he was going with this one. “Doing what?”
He thought for a moment. “I could serve, I know how to do that.”
This was news to me. I am pretty certain the boy has never once dished up his own plate, and I accept full responsibility. But there were bigger concerns on my mind at this point.
“What about school, Luke?” I asked. “Are you going drop out and work full time?”
“Yeah,” he heavily replied, gazing out the car window at the free world.
“Oh really, why is that?” My husband and I come from a long line of people who completed their grade school educations and have similar goals for our own children.
Big sigh. “Well, I’m kind of tired of school, and I need the money.”
Attending third grade every day was bound to interfere with things like Mario Kart and his blossoming rock star career, and he is still $25 short for the electric scooter he has been eyeballing. But it still seemed a bit early for him to quit just yet, as I tried to point out.
“Don’t you think there’s more you need to learn before you leave school?”
“I already know how to make burgers,” he replied without hesitation. This is true. He cannot dish, but he can mold.
Chris Rock has a bit about his own decision to drop out of school to work in a restaurant. He quickly realized that, with a 10th-grade education, he was just as qualified to do the job as someone with a second-grade education. Except the kid with the second-grade education would have eight more years of work experience.
But I did not share this with Luke. I took a different approach.
“Well, that’s fine, I guess,” I calmly replied. “But that means you’ll have to move out.”
“I do?!?” He clearly did not see that coming.
“Yep,” I lovingly continued, slowly so there would be no misunderstanding. “When you’re finished with school and start working full-time, you have to get your own place.”
“With your own washer and dryer.”
“Do you know anyone who might want to be roommates? Anyone with a driver’s license, maybe?”
“Are you sure you’re ready?”
Just as with Cole and Xavier, this was a difficult decision. But, in the end, Luke Dunlap chose to return for his fourth-grade year, giving his teachers (and me) more time to get him (and me) ready for when his time finally comes to go pro.