Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Let's Teach Our Children to Work

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One of the saddest changes in this culture over the past 30 or so years is that children are no longer taught to work.  Instead of teaching our children a good work ethic and diligence, we are teaching them that everything else is more important. We have an epidemic of laziness in this country.

I know many of us feel that there will be enough time for work when our children grow up, which is true to a certain extent.  However, if they are never taught to work when they are young, they will not magically learn this when they grow older.

How do I know this?  Because we own a business that hires young people as our employees and it is a rare thing to find a hard-working, diligent young person.  Most applicants expect to be given a good salary, great benefits, and lots of extra incentives, but they don't want to work for it.  They expect it all to be handed to them on a silver platter, giving nothing in return.  Thankfully, there are still some hard-working, young people full of integrity out there and we have a great group of employees.

Of course, I am not suggesting that we use our children as our slaves, but we need to stop the sports and playtime long enough to have them join some of the family chores. Kids who know how to work are better citizens, less self-centered, and tend to look at what they can give to the world, rather than what they can get from it.

Have them join Dad in helping to fix the shed or do the lawn work on a Saturday or help Mom bake or do laundry during the week. Don't worry if it isn't done perfectly.  It is more important that your child learn to help fold towels, than that the towel is folded just right. Sometimes when teaching children to work it is hard to remember our priorities, isn't it?

And one more note on this-- your kids will complain.  If they don't complain when you ask them to do something, be pleasantly surprised. My kids complained most of their lives.  And sometimes they still do. But we have made it clear that if they are going to live here and take part in all of the benefits of living here, they will also take part in the work involved to have what we have. Most of the time, they do so with willing hearts and hands.  But that was not the case when they were younger.  Don't give up!  Make them do their chores and make them do them right. Your child's future boss will thank you!

p.s. Find this post and other great posts on the Blog Hops at Frugally Sustainable and Deep Roots At Home.


  1. Just dropping in from Frugally Sustainable-- enjoyed this post! I've always felt that you just can't teach children too early! I grew up working hard on a farm and I will always be grateful for the work ethic my parents taught me. I feel that, aside from our faith, this is the most valuable lesson we can teach our children. Kind of along these lines, my husband and I are adament that our kids never "skip" anything they've committed to, esp school. If they see school as number one, this will carry over into their commitment to their job. Too many people pull their children from school for anything and everything; this attitude becomes very evident years later when they join the work force (and routinely show up late or not at all). We are also careful that they join only enough sports/extra curricular activities that they can handle--without having to miss any games/practices. We see these as commitments (individually and to the team) as well. I completely agree that there is a serious problem with laziness today--it is a true shame that people do not realize that a job gives us dignity and makes us feel good. This dignity, along with a proper pride felt from a job well-done, could do amazing things for this country!

  2. You make some great points! Our family tries to practice the same things - you finish what you start, you do what you commit to doing, and you go to school/work if at all possible. This attitude has eroded away so subtly that I don't think we truly understand just what an effect it has had on our country. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Great article. Our boys are 14, 11 and 7 and this is how we have always raised our kids and continue to do so. You're right about the complaining. I always get, "But none of my friends have to do chores!" Our oldest son has even started his own business already. I just wrote a post on my blog about it. You're right, it's not something that most parents in today's society teach their kids. And it scares me to think about my future daughter's in law. Hope they find girls that have similar values as our family. Found you on Frugally Sustainable. Really enjoyed this article.

    Margaret @ Live Like No One Else

    1. Thank you for visiting :) Yes, that future question is SO scary. We are at that point of starting to see our kids start thinking about the future and marriage. So far they have been so wise in their choices and God has been SO faithful.

  4. Wonderful article! My 2 daughters are 31 and 29, and looking back I wish I had made them do more chores and taught them how to cook, etc. It was always easier for me, after being at work all day, to not take the extra time to work with them and just do these things myself. My girls do tend toward being lazy, and their husbands are even worse. Now I'm sticking my nose in and hoping that my grandchildren are raised differently--I've already emailed the girls a link to this article!

  5. Has there ever been a generation of adults that has not complained about the slothfulness of the young? I've read texts from 200 years ago that reads the same as what you have written here.
    It's the right of passage of adults to complain about the younger generation.
    Yet, they have always risen to the challenge of the times that THEY will be living through while us adults wallow in the woes of times gone past and become fuddy duddies and obsolete in the good ol' days we wish to resurrect.
    Nothing changes and all is well.

    1. I am pretty sure you missed my total point. Of course every generation has complained. That's human nature. But we have seen the gradual difference over the years as kids who aren't being TAUGHT how to work still expect raises and something for nothing (one of the reasons socialism is so enticing to so many these days). I want my kids to know how to work and to feel the reward of a job well done. I think we rob our kids of something when we neglect to teach them this. And it does affect their future. I have seen it firsthand.