10 lessons learned while pulling weeds

I posted on Facebook that while on vacation, the boys and I pulled weeds.

Not your typical vacationing activity I’ll admit, but when have I EVER done anything typical?

On the drive home I got to thinking about our weed pulling adventure and realized that this is one of those parenting moments I’m kind of proud of… mostly because of the accidental lessons it taught.


It all started when the boys were approached by the caretaker of the property and were offered $20 to pull the weeds in front of the club house. They jumped at the chance to earn some extra spending money without asking any questions about the size of the undertaking…

Lesson 1 –

Make sure you know the details of the job before you accept.

Once they saw the breadth of the task they had undertaken, I could see the regret all over their face. This was a big job. Huge. Far bigger than either of them had imagined…

Lesson 2 –

Be impeccable with your word. If you say you will do something, do it.

There wasn’t a lot of joy in the beginning of this task… which may sound strange to those of you who know the boys in real life because they are most often happy to help. Seemed like a good time to remind them…

Lesson 3 –

Whether with a smile in your heart of a grumble on your face, the job has to get done anyway. It’s gonna pass more quickly if you try to have a bit of fun.

After letting the boys work for a bit on their own, Mom, Dad and I went down to help them out. All of us pulling weeds together.

Lesson 4 –

Working together on a common goal is the best way to tackle a project and family helps family. Even when the task isn’t all that fun.

Plenty of people walked by and commented on the sizable task at hand… fewer stopped to help.

Lesson 5 –

Just because something “isn’t your job” doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye. Commentary from the peanut gallery is less productive than getting your own hands dirty.


Somewhere along the way, someone had decided to “help” by pulling some weeds when we weren’t there and laying them on the ground. Which meant we had to go back and pick them all up anyway…

Lesson 6 –

A job worth doing is worth doing right. Having to go back and re-do a previous half-assed attempt is more frustrating than just doing what needs to be done.

The boys were the only ones getting paid out of our little weed-pulling group. A fact that mini-me noticed and asked if he and the Giant were gonna have to split their money with us for our help. No – they didn’t btw. I’m a hard ass but I’m not completely heartless.

Lesson 7 –

Sometimes you paid for work… Sometimes you do it just because it needs to get done.

When the job was completed to our satisfaction, the area in front of the clubhouse looked wonderful. The day we finished was also the day that there was a social gathering for the campgrounds that evening. So many people stopped to tell the boys what a great job they did. More people came up to brag about the boys to mom and to me.

Lesson 8 –

When people appreciate your hard work, it means a lot. Be sure to tell people when you appreciate effort from others.

When all was said and done, the caretaker opted to pay the boys over twice as much as originally agreed upon.

Lesson 9 –

Not always, but sometimes when you do an outstanding job, your efforts are rewarded beyond your expectations.

We pulled weeds on vacation… but we also went whitewater rafting, swam in the hot springs, fed chipmunks, rode horses and ATVs.

Lesson 10 –

In this family, we work hard… but we also play hard. That balance is what is important.


I’m sure there were other lessons learned throughout the trip but these are the ones that stuck out most in my mind. Besides, if nothing else, they’ll have great stories to tell their kids about how mean their mom was and made them pull weeds on vacation.



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