Pickerington parents encourage teenage son to pay for football, teaching him to "earn it"


It's not about money.

It's about learning the value of hard work while earning a buck.

Jeremy Lopez is 14 years old. This fall, he'll be a freshman at Pickerington North High School.

"My son wants to play football and football's expensive," Lopez's mother, Michelle Blackwell said.

The registration fee for the freshman team is $275. It gave Blackwell and her husband, Tony, an idea.

"How better to show him responsibility than to say go out there and earn it yourself," she said.

Blackwell says it's the idea to earn what you get and take responsibility for the things you want. Blackwell says it's the real world.

"He's 14 years old," she said. "I have four years to teach this kid what real life is going to be about," she said.

Lopez looked into other job opportunities, but most places have an age requirement of 15. So, Jeremy took to manual labor doing yard work like pulling weeds and mowing.

He went knocking on doors near his Pickerington home asking for work. Blackwell also posted her son's efforts on a neighborhood Facebook page.

He's willing to do anything. Well, almost anything.

One person inquired asking if he would clean up dog messes.

"Even if I had a bag and a scooper, I probably still wouldn't do it," Lopez said.

His work ethic also makes him somewhat of a role model. Lopez is not the only child in his family.

Parker is 3. Arryn and Ryan are 6. Avian is 8, Avery is 9 and Matt is 12.

Lopez says he's learning and he'll continue to learn even after his goal is met.

"Yeah," he said. "So I could save up for other stuff."

Being 14, he already has his mind on his first car when he turns 16.

So far, Lopez says he's earned about $70. The registration fee can be paid in two halves, in August and September.

Blackwell says this is more than a lesson in the number of dollars. She says it's a lesson in life being passed down through a number of generations. It's a lesson in earning, not hand-outs.

"That was not how I was raised and that's not how I want my children raised, either," she said. "I want them to know you have to work for everything you get. Nothing in life is given to you."

Blackwell wants it to be clear: Money is not the issue here. She says this story is not about being a charity case. It's about teaching her son responsibility and earning the extra stuff he wants.

If you live in the Pickerington area and have some outside work you need done, you can contact Blackwell here.