Charlotte Observer July 8, 2007
Remodeling teaches kids about work ethic
Life lessons include responsibility, value of working toward a goal
Lee and Christy Luce and their children Nicole, 12, and Cooper, 10, remodeled their Weddington home recently. They put a large addition on the back to extend the family room, and created a new master bedroom and an office for Lee.
This left the master that was previously upstairs as a new game room for the kids -- well-deserved, because this family knows cooperation and teamwork.
Everyone sacrificed something in the process, but what they gained outweighed nights of frozen dinners and pizza deliveries. The Luces are intent on making the house they purchased last year into a home. They took on the huge project because they could see potential in the 1979 rustic farmhouse.
They endured months of dust, plastic tarps and inconvenience. But lots of folks take on remodeling projects. So what makes this family different?
The Luces are trying to instill a strong work ethic in their kids. Young Cooper was handing tools out the second-story window to dad at age 9. And because Lee is a contractor, he can teach Cooper to do home repairs himself.
Working on the home helped the kids develop a sense of responsibility and teach them that if they want something, they have to work hard for it.
After all, they remodeled their last home in Charlotte near the Arboretum. The family attends Christ Lutheran Church in Charlotte and chose to remain for the fellowship and kids' programs instead of moving to a closer place of worship.
"When you relocate your family, you have to keep some consistency in the children's old friendships," Christy says.
Family is a priority for the Luces. In the summer, Christy works shortened hours at UNC Charlotte as coordinator of graduate student teaching so she can be with her two children and transport them to summer activities. Nicole loves tennis lessons; Cooper enjoys soccer.
The kids were instrumental in choosing their bedroom decor. They chose paint colors, but mom painted every wall herself in her spare time and stained all the baseboards and window frames. Lee put in the wood floors and hung light fixtures and the antique doors Christy hunted down.
She is an avid antiques collector who scouts bargains on eBay and other Internet sites. Her favorite haunt is Metrolina Expo. Lee owns Luce Building and Remodeling.
A house project like this, according to Christy, "Takes a lot of patience and the family has to be committed. ... If one person is not on board, it won't work."
Book drive benefits Africans
While American students enjoy their summer vacation, children at the C Ngatjizeko Primary School in Namibia, Africa, are attending class.
Peace Corps worker Silas Fincher is located there and sent word to his congregation at Matthews United Methodist Church that the Namibian primary school desperately needed children's books.
Patrick Henderson, a marketing teacher in Weddington, heard of the need and proposed that his members of the Distributive Education Clubs of America help.
This past fall, Weddington High School DECA conducted a book drive coordinated by marketing students Rachel Donlin and Danielle Brockmann.
With the help of all the DECA members, Pat Kowalo, Hillary Steere and Brigette McSheehan's marketing classes, more than 1,000 books were collected and delivered to Weddington United Methodist Church.
Madeline Kamp packed and shipped all the books to Africa before the Christmas holidays. Before this school year ended at Weddington, DECA members received many pictures and thank-you letters from the children who received the books.
If you want to contribute, see http://silasfincher.myblog.com/
OUR TOWNS Sari Monaco