Summer Jobs

I experienced something Monday morning I’ve never experienced before in quite that way…
My two little girls rode their bikes to their summer job and I felt proud. 
One not conditioned in the Kope family might not quite know what I mean. 
When I was young I overhead a conversation at a Kope reunion that went something like this: 
“Hi this is my boyfriend ____.”
“Hi, I’m ____ Kope. What do you do for work?”This seems like a usual sort of question one might ask, but the added italics underlined its importance to the Kope clan as the convo moved on…
“Well, I work a few jobs actually”, as they proceeded to defend themselves for having more than the usual number of jobs, thinking this needed to be defended to a Kope.
The group they were in listened to the sentence and my aunt laughed and said something like “Good, three jobs is the minimum if you want into this family:)”. 
She wasn’t kidding. 
My dad grew up working hard on the farm. He worked so hard when he was young it would emotionally scar kids today. One time I asked him “Dad, do you ever feel like you didn’t have a childhood because you worked so much?”
He paused and thought about it. 
“No” he replied, “I LIKE work” with a big smile on his face. 
His secret, of course, is that he had decided a long time ago that he might as well enjoy what was inevitably inconvenient and so he did. 
Now one should understand that he played sports and goofed around, but his hobbies happened AFTER work (and some before). That used to be normal rather than trying to apply for just the right job that allows your hobbies stage time during working hours. 
My oldest girl is interning for the church, and number two is contracting to her for some hours. 
My number two girl is contracting as a nanny to a Venue working mom and handling the scheduling of her own hours, hours for girl three nannying on her own, and for girls three and four nannying together. 
Every day the older girls have their hours reviewed by me and signed and then weekly reviewed by their supervisor who is my exec assistant, and believe me when I say they don’t get special treatment. 
I actually just asked one of them to grab me a cup of coffee, because interns do that too. 
Every week Venue runs two services (and might need to go to three) and we sanitize the heck out of things, but my oldest also is responsible for deep cleaning everything on her list long after everyone is gone, because that’s also what interns do. 
And I’m not overly concerned if they “find themselves” working in the church, because my dad never had silly conditions like that when he worked and neither did I. 
Work wasn’t for finding myself, it was for helping other people find their products or services, and in that I sort of found myself. 
If my kids are interested in church work they’ll put in thousands of volunteer hours before I’d ever think of paying them, because if one won’t do church work for free they won’t do it for money. Sooner or later there’s not enough money in the world when dealing with the hard problems in people, and church isn’t exactly the place one works to get rich unless you’re one of those guys that flies around in private jets. 
I told Erin in mock seriousness the other day that I needed a ridiculously expensive private jet and she said I was welcome to it, but she would sell it and adopt a bunch of orphans with the proceeds. 
I watch my girls get up at decent times and get ready for work and it makes me proud. 
The little girls came home brimming with tiredness and excitement at the antics of the Gibson girls they looked after. 
“____ threw a huge fit for not winning the Quiet Game”, which they found quite ironic. 
They’ll bring up challenges that the older girls will help them deal with. The ones lower on the totem pole are grateful for the lesson and learn to ask questions because they’ll need to piggyback on the other’s experience. 
Life hacks. 
Substance Church in Minneapolis is home to my pastors and they just did me a favour, they’re video capturing a couple of sermons for Venue for when my family is away on holidays, which we sorely need this year. I couldn’t exactly fly guest speakers in so I’m flying their digital presence in so to speak. 
I even asked their production team if they’d put the vids together for me to see if I could give my volunteer production team a break. 
Just this morning I told my number two girl, who contracts from my number one girl, to “Find a way to get candy delivered to Substance Church this week”. 
She spent an hour sorting out how to bomb them with Gummy Frogs and asked for my credit card once the order was ready. 
I said “Give me five options for candy that’s weird and I’ll decide. Spend $100 US and get it delivered.”
“Does the $100 include delivery?”
“No”
“Ok”
We both liked the Gummy Frogs and Ailish learned that a gift doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it does have to be either functional or very fun. Every Substance staff that meets every Venue person at future conferences and ministry trips will know exactly who they are. A memorable gift connects people to you and opens future doors. 
The week before I transferred my buddy Pastor Nate, who’s the Exec at Substance, a cash gift out of our family budget just to go do something fun with his family. I wanted him to know I appreciated him and wanted to take them out but can’t fly on a plane yet to do it. 
I’m a Kope. I connect through work. The girls and I connect through it. I’m able to set the scene for their future success during seemingly inconsequential day to day tasks that come up. 
We gave a gift from Venue to a church in Calgary just starting up a couple of months ago. We remember starting and how hard it was and how much we needed the money, so I talked to some Team Leads a we wrote a cheque. 
I received a text saying “Thanks!” But my team hadn’t heard anything back from them, so on the next phone call with their pastor I suggested “Hey, we love giving a gift but if I could make a little suggestion for next time: Just write out a card and send it to my staff in recognition? Then they’ll remember you and be more available when you need something.”
I also explained that when we send a gift it has zero strings attached and we don’t need to be thanked in that way because of some need for recognition. The real lesson is that the one receiving the gift needs to do it for themselves. 
My girls were around that conversation too. I had the opportunity to explain “My gift to them makes me loyal to them, but not them to me. It works opposite of how you think. Sometimes people need a little coaching. Someday soon they’ll need my advice, and a card opens a door for them to feel ok calling me.” 
My girls asked if I’d have sent a card back if it was me? 
“I’d have taken them for dinner” I laughed. 
And hopefully at the end of every day a small lesson is learned that will be the seed for how to navigate the hard days ahead. 
But I know they’ll have friends who will help them, and all it cost me was a few Gummy Frogs…

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