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The Incredible Nut Cracker

As you fellow parents may know, teaching responsibility is not the easiest of tasks. Kiddos simply don't want to know about that type of stuff, not to mention school doesn't really offer courses for things like "Personal Responsibility" or "Work Ethic: How To Get It and Keep It". As much as I wish they did teach these things in school, I have had the best time doing it on my own lately.

If any of you follow me on Facebook, then you have seen my posts about picking and shelling pecans by the bag full. For those of you who haven't seen should be following me so you don't miss this type of stuff.

Right outside my house in the backyard is a enormous pecan tree that towers over the house and garage just waiting for the opportunity to have it's branches freeze and break all over the place. That hasn't happened yet (fingers crossed), but I decided to do something with the pecans this year if for nothing else than avoiding the horrid *CRUNCH* sound with every step I take.

It's November, which means it's officially holiday season with Thanksgiving making its debut appearance this week. So, I figured everyone would love to buy fresh, all natural pecans for the season. I started picking them and then researched how to shell them properly and as quickly as possible. It turns out there isn't really an easy way to do it other than doing it so much that you get good at it.

If you haven't done this before, let me break down the agony. After hunching over only to try to realign your back on the way back up, standing on your tippy toes like a ballerina and climbing the tree while debating on taking just one more step out on the limb before envisioning an old Tom and Jerry cartoon, you walk your bag of goodies back into the house like a wounded soldier where the real fun begins.

After catching your breath, you take out the pecans one at a time and roll them on the counter top, cracking the shells to get the nut inside. Knowing how hard or soft to roll it, how to peel part of it off and get the nut out without ruining it and throwing it away can only be learned with experience. It is an all day process depending on how many nuts you gathered. Plan on marking all those TO-DOs off and rescheduling little Billy's softball game. Your hands feel like two pieces of beef that have been tenderized for hours. They look like the hand of Mickey Mouse. Congratulations, you have a few pounds of freshly shelled pecans.

With all that said, it occurred to me that there are people all over the world that do this type of work every day as their main source of income for very lowly wages. So, I got an idea and no I didn't start an assembly line of low paid workers to get it done. I figured I could use this as a way to teach my son about work ethic and what it's like to actually earn something that you want. So, I told him that if he helped me pick pecans and prepare them, we would sell them and earn money to get something that he wanted. Of course, he wanted a "Hulk toy" and the most expensive Hulk item in the store, but if he earned it then he earned it.

So, he helped me gather them up and bring them all inside. He did some of the cracking, but I got my fair share in that department. Then, we bagged them up and made them all uniform. One thing we didn't do that we should have (and will do next year) was weigh the bags. I'm pretty positive we undercut the market value of these babies by more than 60%.

Nonetheless, we posted them for sale on Facebook and were bombarded with customers. I've never, ever seen anything like this before. This is one indicator of our super low prices. People were actually engaging in virtual Facebook battles over these pecans.

It was nuts! (Pun most definitely intended)

We ended up selling almost $150 worth of pecans, which really means we sold almost $450 worth of pecans for almost $150 by the time we stripped every pecan we could find.

I made sure that he was involved in every part of the process. I wanted to make this HIS thing. So, he dealt with the customers once we were face to face. He accepted the money and gave them their merchandise. He stuffed his little Thomas the Train piggy bank with his profits. Then came today! THE day! We went to the store and he got to buy the fruit of his labor, the "Hulk toy". It wasn't $150 thank God, so he learned an extra lesson about not spending every dime you have. I made sure he handed the money to the cashier, accepted the change back and carried his Hulk out of the store on his own.

So, what does the incredible nut cracker even mean you might ask?

Our very first customer was a pleasant older woman that we met at night after her late shift. As soon as she got out of her car and met the small human bundled up in his blue coat, holding out her bags of pecans, she told him, "So, you must be the incredible nut cracker I've heard so much about!"

I'm very proud of my incredible nut cracker and all of his hard work!

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