Twins Trash, LLC Cleans Up

Trading trash for dollars

The knock came loud and clear.

The doorbell doesn't work at my new little abode.

Expecting to see the maintenance folks, it surprised me to see two young gentlemen, each wearing shoes on the wrong feet, maybe only 6 or 7 years old.

One looked at me and looked down, took a deep breath in, and said, "Can we take out your trash for a dollar?"

They impressed me immediately. He'd rehearsed this line.

Of course, I said, "YES."

I got a dollar for each and handed them the double-bagged light trash. It was primarily full of plastic wrappings and paper.

A quick debate ensued over who was carrying the money. "You don't have pockets. Give it to me!"

"You have to share," I said. "There is a dollar for each of you."

Were the trash bags slung over their shoulders from another customer who stiffed them, or was it merely being used as social proof? If it was the latter, that was genius.

They acted as though that was the first payment they'd gotten that morning.

They finally settled on each keeping a dollar and scampered off to the next door.

These KIDS are doing door-to-door sales with one skill they can do (they need to be bigger to push a lawnmower) and are DOING IT.

Here's what I noticed:

  • Quick elevator pitch explaining the service, the cost, and a call-to-action, all in less than 20 seconds

  • Cash sales

  • Not focused on perfection - shoes on the wrong feet, no pockets

I hoped lunch and a bowl of ice cream waited for them upon their return. They were working hard and taking pride in their work.

A week later, they came by again. This time, they explained they were saving money to buy their sister birthday presents for the upcoming weekend.

"If that's the case, then today, you each get two dollars." Thankfully, I had enough ones on me. This time, there was no arguing over who held the money, their shoes were on the right feet, and the money went straight into a plastic pencil box they'd emptied just for this job.

The "trash" I'd given them were two small bags full of mostly paper packaging and nothing sharp, heavy, or leaky. I'd set it aside in anticipation of their arrival.

Off they went.

Almost two weeks pass.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

It was the twins again.

This time, they were each sporting a new baseball cap, a new backpack, and a brand new turquoise blue, child-size push scooter.

I remained silent. He must ask.

"Can we take your trash out for a dollar?"

"Yes."

When I returned with the "trash," they were eager to tell me their results. "We raised just over 100 dollars, and you helped us! We each got new hats, a new backpack, and this scooter. Thanks, ma'am!"

This time, the trash bags went over each handlebar with others they'd collected before arriving at my place. One swiftly collected the cash into the pencil box and returned it to the backpack.

They poured their profits into their little company.

Yesterday, the knock came again.

This time, it was only one brother. He was disheveled, worn, and tired. It was over 100F out. It was 6 p.m., and he held half a can of Dr. Pepper. He barely uttered the question, "Can I take your trash out for a dollar?"

"Yes. Let me get it." There was no trash this time, so I had to hurry and think of something. I grabbed a bag from under the sink and put a piece of cardboard in it and some junk mail that had arrived earlier.

"Are you OK?" I asked him, handing him the bag.

"Yes," he said quietly.

"Make sure you drink more water."

He looked to the side and shouted, "Yeah, yeah, she said YES!" I heard the other brother shout back.

"I will," and he left. School started for the little kids here already. This was after school and after homework. They were dividing and conquering the complex.

Nice.

Part of me wonders if everything is OK at home. You never know these days.

Twins Trash, LLC, is a successful, thriving little business. Who knows how long before they stop and move on to other things?

I hope these brothers stay close during their lives and that they repeat these valuable lessons when they're older.

(Twins Trash LLC is just the nickname I've given to them. I don't need the IRS trying to track them down and steal their profits.)

Dear Scribbler

Q. I don't have a choice but to leave my kids in the public school system. I want them to grow up with adventure, but I cannot provide that to them in ways they value. I want them to explore their hobbies but balance nurturing their interests and ensuring they're properly educated. What can I do? I don't trust the public schools.

A. You're not the only one that feels that way.

There are a few things you'll want to do. The order is not necessarily important, but that you take action is.

Dial in on your kids' interests. 

If it's not unlawful, help them research it as much as possible, both online and at your local libraries. Have the kids hunt down online organizations and events related to these interests within a 90-mile radius (or smaller) of your home. If it's possible to attend these events, try to do so. If not, have them research the individuals attending or presenting the event. Let them learn about their backgrounds, careers, and resources the person may have published about your child's interest. This will keep them busy for a bit.

If the topic is unlawful or taboo, don't stop the conversation, but help them research it from age-appropriate or academic stances. For example, if you suspect your pre-teen is only interested in the isolated tribes found in the Amazon Jungles because they want to see skin-laden pictures in National Geographic magazines, help them instead by finding research books on the tribe's customs, eating habits, how they hunt, and social standards. Try to find recipes you can make at home from that part of the world, or help them recreate a mock weapon of their choice (safely, of course) the tribe uses.

Ask for copies of the curriculum for the school year, including a list of all the books used as source materials for the lessons. 

It's impossible to read through them all, but you can pour over their table of contents online, learn more about the authors, read the sections you're concerned about, etc.

You can't stop a public school from trying to teach your kids things that go against your values unless you can pull them out of certain classes or homeschool them.

Instead, try to see what will be taught from what perspective and angle. This gives you time to prepare different perspectives from books you found at the library, from your beliefs, or a random sampling in the public online. The goal here is not to entirely refute your kids' teachers at all times, even when you believe they're wrong, but to offer balance and counter-thoughts.

But you’re the parent. If you want to try and refute the teachers at all times, this is your choice. I do not believe everything they teach today, but it would be futile and exhausting for myself and the child if I constantly told them why I felt their teacher was wrong. So I found it more helpful to approach things more balanced.

I always appreciated it when my parents or trusted adults offered different perspectives than I always heard at school. It showed me that school was just a starting point for my learning and that there's actually more out there on almost every topic.

How far you and your kids go down a rabbit hole is up to you.

Basics are covered in old-school teaching methods. 

If you've researched homeschooling, you may have come across a method I find amazing. It's where everyone has a copy of the same book, regardless of their age or their skill set. It can be any book, fiction, or non-fiction.

Every age level can do something:

  • Identifying objects in pictures and colors

  • Copying the letters by hand onto paper, letter by letter, with all the punctuation. Knowing how to read isn't required yet, but if they do know how to read, this helps them learn sentence structure and can improve reading comprehension and their handwriting. If they keep doing it, it happens naturally. If they will do this only with books on topics they're interested in, then even better. As long as they copy the verbiage by hand, they will learn in multiple ways without realizing it.

  • Doing logic problems, asking what-if questions regarding the characters and what they're facing. Example: What would have happened if the banker left earlier that morning rather than when he did? What was a better way to handle it when the police confronted the suspect, and why?

  • Have the kids take part in the story and write their very own choose-your-own-adventure endings and read them out loud to the others.

  • If there's a dish mentioned in the book, try to recreate it in the kitchen, including the measurements, halving the recipe, doubling it, and learning online how long it can stay in the freezer, etc. This helps them learn math and cooking at the same time.

  • If there are animals or plants mentioned in the story, then the whole family might learn about those plants, how many varieties they are, writing a report on what they found, going to a nursery and interviewing the staff to learn more about the plants themselves, or even trying to plant them and nurture them in the backyard. This covers science and things.

  • The period of the books is researched for history's sake. What was happening in their part of the world when the story takes place? Any major events? How did the events shape history, and why? And how could any of that help or shape the characters' point of view in how they were treating and interacting with each other?

All of this is from one book.

You can't always trust the public schools to give your kids a more enriching education. Still, you can do plenty as a parent to help balance the impact, fire off their thought processes, help them leverage the results (extra credit, maybe?), and make what family time you have together more enjoyable.

If you want to be extra stealthy about this, take one book every three months and work through it as a family for "fun" as a new family tradition.

  • More than one person reads out loud to the others.

  • One person who might enjoy finding clues and taking notes can listen for cues like historical things, odd things about the characters, plants, animals, places, food, complex life topics, etc.

  • Each family member could research the parts they are most interested in.

  • The person who enjoys cooking can recruit some helpers to recreate the recipes.

  • The more hands-on person may recruit others to help at the hardware store when getting supplies needed to build a model or mock version of what you read about.

  • Another may try to draw pictures of the characters or people from that era. Is anyone inspired to put on a skit?

As long as the whole family is involved somehow with this book and involving the others, everyone will learn new things when they share their findings and have fun, and adventure with it. Everyone.

Won't that be loads of fun to write about in your journals?

If I could go back and do it all over again, I would have incorporated this from the beginning.

Do you have a question you want to ask?

One Line

One-liners are sentences meant to prompt your memories and stimulate your creativity. Use them, if you want, to see what your brain comes up with. Do you see an image in your mind, feel something, remember something?

Whatever it is, start writing it down. There's no right or wrong answer. 🥳

It was bright, only one wheel was sticking up, and I had a funny feeling it shouldn't have been in the garbage.

Mission

Think back to a time during your childhood when you tried to make money. Write about what you tried, who helped you, why it worked, and why it didn't. Try to be as specific as possible.

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