Madison Grossnickle: 'Only so much can really be learned in a classroom. Real life experiences are the best teachers.'

Many of my older sister's 17- and 18-year-old friends have jobs. However, I can't think of a single kid my age (15 years old) who has a job. It's just not common for kids under the age of 16 to be employed.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, there were 1,388,000 18- and 19-year-olds working in the United States, compared with only 296,000 16- and 17-year-olds. If they gathered data on 14- and 15-year-olds, we can indicate and assume the number of employed would be less than 100,000.

I think this needs to change in order to help kids be better prepared to grow up to be successful adults.

There are many benefits that come from teens having jobs. They gain real life experience dealing with stress, learning to be reliable and responsible; they learn how to communicate and to manage their time and money.

All of this learning will help them in their futures. They might also learn practical skills like changing a tire, fixing a pipe, cooking, calculating change, organizing, car maintenance, etc. Developing these skills can help young teens shape the way they act, increase their self-confidence, and may help them make this world a better place.

Only so much can really be learned in a classroom. Real life experiences are the best teachers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states, "Teen labor force participation has been on a downward trend, and that trend is expected to continue well into 2024. This decline in participation means that there are fewer teens employed in the U.S."

I believe teens are gradually becoming more and more lazy. There are many factors and variables that may get in the way of working; these might include spending all of their free time on their phones or playing online games. Most parents want their children to have happy and successful lives, but that doesn't happen through a sedentary lifestyle.

Meanwhile, teens are still developing and maturing. They need opportunities to learn greater skill and responsibility, which will help them become successful adults with meaningful employment and lives.

Some teenagers may feel like having a job at a young age can be a burden with everything that they might have going on, but it will pay off one day.

Gandhi, a political and spiritual leader, once said, "Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever." This can be interpreted by saying the time we have in the world is limited; teenagers are wasting too much of that time.

Parents should be encouraging their kids to be more productive with their time. By finding jobs that will teach them important lessons is one method that would help with this.

We shouldn't be waiting around, we should be acting.

Education, especially the kind that comes from experience, helps the brain grow; therefore, we can use it to gain more abilities. I believe having a job when you're young can help gain a better concept of it, increase life skill development and have a positive impact on a person's future.

Madison Grossnickle is a student at Banks High School. This essay was written and submitted to the News-Times as part of a class project, and it was one of several student letters and columns selected for publication.

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