This blog post was written by Bend Soap Company co-owner, Marilee Johnson.
When my 12-year-old son told me he wanted to buy a truck, I was intrigued by his forethought and planning. I had no idea that he meant BUY NOW!!
All boys have some sort of infatuation with automobiles, right? It made perfect sense, especially where Burnell was concerned. Dwight had had him on his lap, behind the steering wheel, from before he could even stand on his own two feet — his little gummy smile peeking over the steering wheel while his chubby little hands gripped the steering wheel. As he got older, he would help steer while Daddy drove around the property. I remember taking him out into the hay field so he could get the feel of the wheel.
On a working farm, it’s also quite normal to see a youngin’ driving a tractor, and Burnell is no exception there either. He’s been boasting for a few years now that he can operate all the vehicles on the property, except the bale wagon. That’s quite the accomplishment as there are ten pieces of equipment, including our personal vehicles. He loves it!
But, he’s only 12! And buying a vehicle just seemed like an older thing to do. It was typical Burnell fashion, however — overachieving and wowing us with his ambition and drive. He’s always been prone to lock onto a dream and focus all his attention there until he accomplished his goal. Driven? Passionate? Yes. He’s used this strength to become quite a pianist as well, and this winter tackled video editing. It’s amazing how proficient he has become already.
"... It made submitting that final car payment that much more exciting because he knew how much hard work had gone into paying off the car."
So a few months ago at the age of 12, he bought his first truck; a 1974 Chevrolet. He used all his savings, but came up short a few hundred, which Dad spotted him. Taking the “debt” very seriously he made sure to pay Dad off with every penny he earned until the debt was paid back. Listing and selling his barrels and working with customers to sell as many as possible was the biggest factor. He also sold 3 of his 5 pullet chickens, which he had originally planned on raising for eggs. Putting in some extra hours labeling bars of goat milk soap and helping with deodorants and lip butters was on the list, too. Dwight and I both appreciated that responsibility and focus.
In typical homeschooling-Mom-style (and my organizational accounting background), I helped him set up a folder for the title, along with a record of amount due and payments. I don’t think he enjoyed that process at all, but it’s important nonetheless. Keeping track of the payments he had made helped Burnell realize what a big responsibility this was. And it made submitting that final car payment that much more exciting because he knew how much hard work had gone into paying off the car.
Besides showing off his new truck to everyone that comes on the property, and giving a ride to his siblings here and there, he mostly drives it back and forth between the house and the goat pens, for milking. The truck has also come in handy for his latest venture — doing landscape maintenance for Grandpa on the 40 acres we live on. There are endless weeds that need week-whacking, and he’s quick to load up his tools to get to work. It’s a delight watching this man-in-the-making doing real man work and loving it!
This month, Burnell turned 13 and paid off his last hundred to Dad. Never having raised a son to this age before (he’s our first, you know), it blows me away that this just happened! We can see that he’s taken another big step towards adulthood and maturity and becoming the man God wants him to be. As his parents, we are so proud of him and eager to see what he does with his life. He has been so uniquely created and it’s so exciting to see everything unfolding as God writes his story.
I hope you enjoy seeing and hearing all about it from Burnell himself, as I interviewed him a while ago. Burnell did all the editing and compilation for this video himself! You can check out other videos he's helped edit on our YouTube Channel.