Day 17~ Instilling a LOVE of Work in your kids

Okay, so I’m preaching to myself here.  I’m sure you’ve had those moments where you realize that you goofed. Like , big time.  We came by it honestly but the reality of our bad parenting is threatening us at this very moment: work ethic.

I grew up in a house where my mother would throw open the curtains Saturday mornings, crank up her record collection of the The Rambos or The Statler Brothers  and expect us up and at it in short order.  Saturdays were work days. In the spring, raking and yard clean up.  In the summer, mowing.  In the fall, cleaning out storage, purging and prepping for winter.  And there was always laundry, floors and windows to wash and all sorts of other jobs.  My mom expected the work done her way and on her timeline. She set the timer on the stove and there was no way we were to go over.  That was one thing with my mom: do it right, do it in the time allotted or……be warned.  It wasn’t worth it then to discuss consequences and it’s not worth it now.  Mother spoke, we listened. End.OF. Story.

Beyond learning to respect and obey my mom, we were learning how to work hard.  And not just hard; we were learning that when someone expects you to do something, you don’t question why or how, you just do it and you do it well~ to the specifications laid out for you.  (What a terrible run on sentence!eek!)

My kids often ask me why they need to know what arthropods are, why they need to know how to calculate square roots, or why they have to do a fitness test in phys ed every quarter.  My simple answer to them: because you need to know how to work hard and finish what’s been assigned. (even though I disagree with much of what is assigned in school, I agree with the premise of teaching kids to complete projects and do their best).

Sadly, there are fewer and fewer parents who demand excellence and a finished product/job out of their kids.  My husband’s company is busy~ too busy. They have had 2 guys quit in the past 3 days.  Why? Because they don’t want to work so hard for 8 hours a day. They would rather go up the road to work for the union(for $3 LESS per hour) just because the union guys tend to have 4-5 guys to do what one man should be doing. They take more breaks, for longer.  I had one guy tell me last week that his friend just started into the electrical apprenticeship program in his mid-30’s . He’s answering to guys 8-15 years younger than him.  But he puts up and shuts up. He recently went to union jobsite because there was more work and what he thought would be a better experience.  Turns out that the guys gave him a very hard time the first week because he was “working too hard” and not taking as many breaks.  They told him that he was making them look bad.  He said, “well aren’t we here to work?”.  He finally quit after a couple of months because he was not raised to “not work” like that.  In the end he figured that they were putting in 4-5 hours of work in an 8 hour day. Sad.  This is what our society has become.

The “Occupy” protests that have been making their way from Wall Street to other major cities in North America have really bothered me. I really don’t know if most of the people “protesting” know what they’re actually protesting about.  The fact is this: You may be jealous or think it unfair that a CEO gets to sit in a really nice office all day and make millions of dollars for doing it but consider this~ He sits in a chair, made in  a factory.  That factory line consists of people who would not have jobs if it weren’t for his need of the chair.  His office was built by tradesmen: carpenters, steel workers, brick layers, plumbers and electricians.  None of them would have work if there weren’t buildings to build, CEOs with offices needed, stores to house the stuff you buy….it goes on and on and on.

Every job is needed.  Every job has value.  But every worker is replaceable.  Teaching our kids that they need to take pride in the work they do and the time taken to do it is one of the very most important lessons of life. I often tell my kids that they will feel better about themselves if they’ve worked hard all day, through blood, sweat and tears knowing they’ve done their best and what is required of them. That is a good days’ work.  And it doesn’t have to have a dollar value attached to it.

The LOVE of a good work ethic is fulfilling and life-skill in high demand.  Teach it to your kids; I’m teaching mine.

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