Josh Roberts, 29, Rantoul, said he and his three sons have begun selling firewood not only to make some extra money, but also to teach the boys some valuable life lessons.
“We’re trying to teach them good work ethic and dealing with people,” Roberts said. “It’s kind of funny because I’ve been letting the boys take the money from people and shaking their hands and being polite and stuff like that. It really started out around the house doing it for ourselves.”
Because his work with the City of Ottawa streets department prevents him from bringing his boys — Sean Becker, 11, Luc Becker, 10, and Trevor Becker, 7 — to work, Roberts said he hopes the firewood venture also will teach them some basic physical labor skills. The boys, along with their father, cut and sell seasoned hardwoods, including Ash, Walnut and Hackberry wood, for burning.
“I figured that would be a really good opportunity to start teaching them more [manual labor] skills like that,” Roberts said of his sons, who attend Wellsville schools. “They love it.”
The boys seem to agree, and much to the delight of their parents, Sean, the eldest son, said.
“It’s been enjoyable and really fun to work outside and to hang out with Josh,” Sean said. “Josh said he really likes it because we’re getting off video games a lot more and able to explore the outside.”
In addition to imparting physical labor skills, Roberts said he hopes the firewood teaches his boys a bit about courtesy and fiscal responsibility. The latter virtue, however, seems to have already taken hold with the boys, Roberts said.
Sean said not only has he learned some business etiquette, but the firewood activity also has taught him about Kansas wildlife.
“I’ve been learning a lot,” Sean Becker said. “He’s teaching us some business aspects and how to be polite when working with others. ... He teaches us a lot about the outdoors.”
Roberts also recently placed an ad with The Herald to explain the venture and the reason behind it.
“We are a small family business,” Roberts wrote in the ad, “started to provide an opportunity for us to work outside with our young sons and teach them the value of working hard and providing a great service to the community.”