child labor laws

I’ve come to a few conclusions in the last year. One in particular is worth noting: I’m convinced that my parents probably broke all manor of child labor laws when it came to me.

It wasn’t the bean walking. It wasn’t the hours of endless mowing gigantic spans of lawn in the summer heat. It wasn’t making us hold a gate open while 300 pound hogs charged us. (Charged can sometimes be defined as sniffed or looked at, right? It’s all perspective.)

It wasn’t having to shovel the sidewalk or chip ice out of my pet rabbits’ water dish in -50 degree weather in the middle of winter.

It wasn’t even when Dad made us cry by teaching us to drive stickshift. (Dad: “We are not going home until you can accelerate this car without giving me whiplash!” Me: “So . . . we’re never going home then?”) Or when we were told to cease and desist our sniveling and get on the tractor. Or when we were on vacation, Dad was holding the camera, and the last words we heard were, “Stop whining, and stand next to that bear!”

Nope. None of these.

It’s the fact that when I was a small child, I was a member of AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed). (I think it’s also worth noting that it was my parents’ idea to send me to an evangelical free church to learn about Jesus. Thanks, Mom and Dad.)

There was, however, one perk to being a member of an AWANA club, outside of the Boy Scout-like uniforms and badges, the extreme lack of Gospel, the general distrust of creeds, and the leader’s propensity for games that involved spinning small children in circles and then making them run.

The perk was that for every ten Bible verses you learned, you earned a free can of pop. While that sounds like a pretty sweet deal, it’s worth noting here that a vat of sugar is a stupid prize to give a chubby kid (read: me).

It didn’t really dawn on me until more recently that it was my parents who hounded me to memorized. In the end, I learned 800 Bible verses. And although I stink at math, I think that’s 80 cans of pop I brought home! Dang right. Me. I did that.

{Before you start in with your accolades, I’ve forgotten 798 of the verses, so, nicely done, E-Free Church, nicely done.}

At first I was sure my parents wanted me to learn the Holy Scriptures for the sake of, um, learning the Holy Scriptures. But now, gee, I really have to wonder: was it God’s holy Word or was it FREE POP?

And here’s the other thing: in the Dorr household, you were only allowed to drink pop with meals that involved tacos,  nachos, or pizza. So where, I ask, did all the other pop go? If my oldest sister wasn’t drinking it, and my middle sister wasn’t drinking it, and I wasn’t drinking it . . . well, I just think it’s suspicious, that’s all.

Dad? Mom? I’m old enough now. If you only loved me because I padded your grocery budget, I want to know. I worked hard for that sugar-laced, caffeine-ridden, tooth-rotting deliciousness. I think I deserve some answers.

Be brutal.

I can take it.

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3 thoughts on “child labor laws

  1. FAR BE IT from li’l old me to edit the editrix, but aint it “all MANNER of child labor laws,” instead of “all MANOR” ??…

  2. All these things make me laugh. And now I don’t feel so bad about sending my kids to the non denom VBS last week. Liturgical dancing and all 🙂

    The learning to drive was definitely the worst thing on the list.

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