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Reba McEntire Wants to Put Kids to Work!

Ed Rode, Getty Images

Reba McEntire grew up working on a farm — a demanding upbringing she credits with forming the work ethic that steers her now superstar career. Thankful for the long hours she put in as a child and teenager, the singer/actress/entrepreneur regrets that today’s younger generation doesn’t have similar opportunities.

“Kids have a hard time finding part-time jobs,” Reba tells GAC. “You have to be a certain age before you can work at this job [or] work at that job. When we’re out in the country we have lots of jobs, to take care of the animals, the livestock and jobs that we did when I was a kid.”

Reba’s 21-year-old son, Shelby Blackstock, recently enrolled in racing school, with the hope of becoming a professional driver. His motivation to succeed, his proud mother notes, is at least partly because of his own roles and responsibilities as he was growing up.

“When we were on the farm, Shelby [would be] out there bushhogging or mowing,” the 56-year-old mom recalls. “When you’re in the city, it’s hard to find a job for the kids. I wish there were more things for kids to do to get jobs at an earlier age.”

While labor laws restricting working hours for minors have their benefits, Reba maintains that they also have their detriments. “I understand why they enforce this law and why they put it into action is because of the child labor laws, but also, it has hurt our country in a way,” she notes.

The wife of Narvel Blackstock (and step-mom to his three kids from a previous marriage) says she followed one rule as their children were growing up: “You have to stand firm on what you tell kids to do but then stand back and be patient and see how they’re going to react,” she tells The Boot. “That’s hard for us, to be patient.”

Reba is currently enjoying some time off, before she hits the road in August for a series of shows, with the Band Perry, Steel Magnolia and Eden’s Edge sharing opening act duties. Keep track of her concert schedule here.

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