He walked the neighborhood observing. He watched the people. He looked around their homes. He tried to notice everything. He took notes on his pad of paper like the guest instructor had taught him.

  • Windows … check.
  • Fences … check.
  • Shrubs … check.
  • Cars in the driveway and on the street … check.

This eighth grader wanted a summer job. As he had been taught in a special seminar, he’d have to see a need and convince people he could meet it. He was too young to be hired in the traditional sense, but he wanted to do something meaningful.

Someone he hardly knew, but who cared enough to teach the classes, said he could do it. He wanted to. He liked being outside and wasn’t afraid of hard work. He knew that being body smart would make physical labor enjoyable. He was successful using his hands when helping his dad around their house. He was beginning to believe he could do something.

So, he walked around the neighborhood again with his pencil and pad of paper. He had to find something within walking distance of his home that his parents would let him do.

  • Windows. Most seemed clean enough. There weren’t any broken ones he could repair … check.
  • Fences. Those that did exist were in pretty good shape. There definitely wasn’t enough to make a job out of what he noticed … check.
  • Shrubs. People took good care of their yards. Very few bushes needed trimmed. Again, there wasn’t enough work that would make investing in garden tools appropriate. … check.
  • Cars in the driveway and on the street. There were a lot of them and he realized many were fancy and probably expensive. He walked back and forth looking in a more concentrated and detailed way. He remembered to use his picture-smart observing ability and his nature-smart ability to notice patterns. That’s when he saw the common problem. … check.

Tires. The wheels were dirty on many cars. The rubber had lost its shine. The other parts of the cars were sparkling and definitely cared for. But, he noticed the wheels had been neglected. They weren’t shiny black like when the cars were new. The metal was also dingy.

He became “The Wheel Man.” He created hand-made flyers with his name and number. With his parents’ permission, he set up an email address just to make it easier for people to contact him.

He found someone willing to let him shine his wheels for free with the understanding he’d recommend him to friends if he liked the job he did. All the instruction the woman provided was working.

That was the beginning of a very fruitful summer. He was busy. He felt good about himself. He had his own money. Men in his neighborhood got to know him. They loved his work and he made way more money than he ever imagined.

He managed his time carefully and was able to clean some wheels during the school year. This summer, he’ll once again become “The Wheel Man.”

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this boy ends up owning his own car-detailing business or car wash someday. Sooner rather than later. All because a school administrator allowed a guest to come in for four classes to talk with 7th and 8th graders about entrepreneurship. She taught them they were old enough to know themselves well and contribute to their own joy and fulfillment. They didn’t have to rely just on parents and others anymore.

When kids know who they are, have some understanding of their smarts, and have people who believe in them, it’s a beautiful thing. Look to be beautiful today!

[callout]8GreatSmarts_3D-webWhen I teach about 8 Great Smarts I always mention that people can identify fulfilling careers and volunteer opportunities according to how they are smart. People respond well to this idea. The wheel man used his smarts very productively. How can you help youth you know use theirs? It makes a difference! YOU make a difference![/callout]