When I was a youngster in Yazoo City, Miss., twice each week — on Tuesday and Friday nights — I delivered the hometown newspaper. One night a week, I collected for the paper. The financial rewards were small but important. More important was the fact that I developed commitment and learned responsibility and how to deal with people. Considering everything, it was one of the most significant things I ever did.
Unfortunately, in our efficient, cost-conscious society of today, many paper boys are losing their jobs. A story in The New York Times featuring Eric Anderson, 17, who has been delivering the Portland, Maine, Press-Herald since he was 7 years old, hit me hard.
Eric has always given superb service, and, unlike the adult who drives by in a car and throws the newspaper onto the driveway, Eric always placed it in the mailbox, inside the front door or even the back door, if requested. However, he’ll have to give up his job, as will his sister, Katherine, who’s 11, and his brother, Cory, 15, along with their friend Noah Rosenberg, 17, and many other young people.
The paper has decided to turn to adults to replace the youngsters because it says it is getting increasingly difficult to hire dependable youngsters and that the adults in cars can deliver the papers earlier and more efficiently. The unfortunate thing is, this is one more job being taken from youngsters who need to learn these important lessons of life.
However, I believe any youngster willing to get up at 5:30 in the morning to deliver papers will have enough initiative to replace that job. It’s called creative thinking, entrepreneurship and the American dream. That’s the attitude all of us should take because if we do, I’ll see you at the top!
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