"PawPaw would be mad if he knew I was touching his stuff, but I need to help you." he said, as he set up his grandfathers whetstone to sharpen the knife that had nearly cut off my fingertip while trying to slice a tomato for their dinner.
A 13yo kid who is constantly ignored at home demonstrates an exceptional talent for sharpening knives in an effort to help me after I nearly cut my fingers off trying to cook for his family. I have the idea of showing him how he can use this talent to help more people, plus earn money to invest in himself, since apparently nobody else in his life is interested in doing so.
He's a 13 year old boy who, along with his brother, is being cared for by his grandparents. I go to their home to help around the house a few times a week.
For some reason I can not fathom, he is largely ignored, while his older brother is doted upon by his grandparents. Even when he speaks, it is not uncommon for him to get no response what-so-ever. Much less help with his homework, new clothes or even clothes that fit properly, a hair cut, and now - Christmas gifts. (I know for a fact this child has NEVER had a birthday party thrown for him, while his brother has one every year without fail - despite having a huge heart, sparkling personality, and being such a hardworking helper for them!)
...within 5 minutes he had sharpened the dull finger-hacking shank (aka "thorn in my side" and cause for enough frustration that I've seriously contemplated not cooking for them all-together) -- into a precision slicing instrument fit for a kings kitchen! I was stunned!
When I asked how he learned to do that, he said he had watched his pawpaw sharpen his pocket knives many times and it looked pretty easy. (Maybe it's just me, but I've tried several times to sharpen knives, and barely see any improvement! lol)
He's always been the outdoors type, great with his hands and a knack for making things work - but I believe this particular skill he has is a genuine talent! And I let him know that...
I asked if he ever thought about applying this talent toward helping others with this exact problem, and make a little money at the same time for things he needed. He said "Well maybe when I'm older and have my own workshop". I went on to explain:
"There are people out there with this very simple, yet very dangerous problem who would trust you with their property and be more than happy to pay a little to have months of use from a much safer, reliable, perfectly sharpened knife. Not only that, but it's something you could start doing now, at 13, with just a drop box you would check after school each day, and a whetstone to use when you have free time to work on them. By the time you're 18 and out on your own, I wholeheartedly believe you could easily have earned enough repeat customers and made such a name for yourself (as you hone in your skills over the next 5 years), that you could set yourself up for a very nice life. Whether you decide to run with it as a full time business, or a hobby on the side, is up to you. That's long term though, as for short term, you've been trying to save money all year for an iPhone 6 SE Plus. If you start practicing and providing this service, it wouldn't take you nearly as long to save up, and you'd be able to buy yourself things you need, too. I believe in you and I will do everything I can to help you get this going if you think it is something you would enjoy, take pride in, and stick with?"
Needless to say -- my invitation was met by a resounding and enthusiastic "YES MA'AM!"
Which brings me here!
By Christmas I would LOVE to raise enough money to;
1) get him this iPhone 6 SE Plus (which is very outdated by the way, but a very practical goal he had set since they run about $150.00 now), or any cell phone really, so he can call for a ride after school if needed rather than having to walk all the way home almost daily,
2) purchase a secure drop-box with lock for his customers to have the convenience of being able to drop off thier knives any time, and without bothering his grandparents while he's at school, and
3) a nice sharpening kit with a double-sided whetstone.
Any money raised beyond these essential items will be applied toward;
A) a surprise birthday party for him, B) additional sharpening equipment and supplies as needed, and C) a haircut, new clothes that actually fit, and a decent pair of sneakers.
I set the date in time to hopefully bring him the gift of "boundless potential" as a Christmas gift. That may be a little ambitious considering it's less than 2 weeks away, but I've heard crowdfunding can sometimes bring surprising results. So, let's give it a try!
Thank you in advance for your time, consideration and any help you decide to extend to this outstanding young man.