Employing Your Kids

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By Heidi Hess

“Would you like some money?” 

It’s a loaded question and it’s meant to illicit a loaded answer. This isn’t my first time at the rodeo. I know exactly how to get my teenagers’ attention. My son looks up from his laptop, mid-game, intently listening, and my studious daughter stops writing for a moment to answer the obvious “Yes, I’d like some money.”  

“Great. I’ll need help with Read It Write It.” The kids groan. Since the end of Read It Write It Book and Writing Festival 2022, this is all I have been talking about. They no doubt are tired of hearing about it but now they have a renewed interest. Don’t get me wrong… they were interested last year and helped out a lot. I couldn’t pull this off without them. But now, college and cars loom in the foreground and they are going to need to earn money for those things. I completely understand.  

This interaction got me thinking. Don’t we tell our kids to know their worth? Haven’t we encouraged them to get a job if they want and be paid for their work? Why would we treat them differently? You can also barter or negotiate something that will help promote your business but they do not have a business to speak of yet.

The kids and I talk about what they will earn and the inevitable question of what they will be doing comes up. “Well Savannah, you have a lot of experience with sewing and costume creation, so I think helping with the Literary Costume Contest would be good for you. And Ryan, you are good with people so I might need you to announce panels on one of the two stages.” There are no complaints or eye rolls so I’m assuming they are on board. Perhaps I should write a contract and have them sign it. Too much? I might be pushing it. I’ll skip the contract. 

And so here I am. Staring down the growing list of authors, publishers, journalists, and futurists of the literary world that will be at the Wellington Green Mall on Saturday, February 25, 2023, for Read it Write It Book and Writing Festival and trying to put together panels and workshops that will highlight their talent. It’s a little nerve-wracking. There are so many little details, why wouldn’t I enlist their help? If I won’t hire my own kids, who will?