Chick-fil-A Has Kicked up a 'Child Labor' Argument, but Are They Wrong?

AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File

A long time ago in a lifetime far, far away, I was a kid who spent every Saturday at Longhorn Speedway in Austin. My stepdad was one of the racers and I would spend a lot of my childhood Saturdays roaming around the stands and playing with the other kids whose parents were there to either watch or race.

At some point, they needed someone to help run the bouncy castle they had there and I was handed the job. I was only 12. The amount I was paid for doing so was incredibly minimal, and even though it was a silly job, having to stay in one spot and monitor something was a tiny toe into the working world. It was the first time I’d had a responsibility outside of chores at my own home and schoolwork.

I think, at some point, a kid should be introduced to responsibility outside the home in that way. Small jobs that require no real skill but teach the importance of duty and responsibility are invaluable.

Chick-fil-A seems to be employing kids as young as 13 years old and, to be honest, I’m good with it. The organization is one that really has its business practices down to near perfection. Chick-fil-A teaches its workers how not to just work in an organized and efficient manner, it teaches social skills and customer service that outclass every other fast food establishment out there.

Naturally, because Chick-fil-A did it, it’s a bad thing. A video has gone viral of a man asking the age of one Chick-fil-A worker in what seems like the bathroom. The kid reveals he’s 13 but his dad owned this particular restaurant.

The account that posted the video, the pro-Union group “A More Perfect Union” revealed that lobbyists from the National Restaurant Association, are attempting to pass legislation to make child labor legal.

Firstly, I think it’s interesting that the left thinks working at the age of 13 at an establishment is too young when the same left believes a four-year-old kid can decide his or her gender identity and be subjected to permanent life-altering procedures. You’ll pardon me if I don’t take their outrage about young teens working jobs seriously.

Secondly, this is the same left that thinks we should lower the voting age to 16. Somehow, a 13-year-old is too young to work, but just three years later they should help decide the fate of a nation?

Seems a bit backward.

As far as “child labor” goes, I think we first need to understand what qualifies as “child labor.” A 13-year-old kid working at a local store for minimum wage under the approval of a parent or guardian hardly seems like child labor.

Sure, we can discuss nuances such as what they can and can’t operate at the store, but stocking shelves, taking inventory, helping customers, and learning the ins and outs of an operation seem more like a learning opportunity than actual labor.

Sending them to work in sweatshops or down into mines would qualify as “child labor” in the sense that the left is trying to impart, but I don’t see many people advocating for that. They aren’t Apple after all.

Gaining experience and developing a work ethic at a young age can only help to improve the life and livelihood of a person. As a kid working a job, they can learn responsibility, skills, and money management. When people look back on their life, I’ve rarely ever heard anyone talk about the jobs they had when they were kids with anything less than pride.

I can’t help but be distrustful of the people trying to call low-level, local work “child labor” with the connotation that it’s somehow abusive to the child. Work is not abuse or mishandling. Work is a part of life and something that should be introduced early in a safe, beginner’s environment where harm cannot befall the kid or the establishment.

Trying to keep work away from kids seems awfully backward, and one has to wonder why they wouldn’t want the kids to have that kind of experience.

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