Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Developing a Work Ethic in Children

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My kids are normal.  Honestly, they are!  They whine, fuss, and complain with the best of them.  I just wanted to put that out there before I talk about this topic.  BUT, for the most part we've been able to develop a pretty good attitude about work with them.  That doesn't mean we don't have our issues from time to time.

For example, this weekend the church had a work day where dead trees were cut down and cut up for fire wood and yard work was done.  At the end of the day Nathan & Stephen were milling around so I asked them to start turning over the soil in the garden.

Let's just say they were less than enthusiastic and I had to stay on them every 5 minutes or so.  By the way, I only asked them to do a section not the whole thing.  In hind sight, it was probably dumb of me to ask them to do it at that particular moment.  They had worked all afternoon.  Almost everyone was gone and they were tired.  But the point was they did it anyway.

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When I talk about developing a work ethic, I'm not saying that your children are going to love every job you give them.  I mean, let's be honest, how many of REALLY love cleaning toilets?  ;-)   But we do it anyway.  We do it because it needs to be done.  We do it because we are part of a family and we don't want them living in filth.  We do it so that our house is presentable.

The same goes for our children.  Our goal should be to train our children to become adults who can hold down a job, be responsible no matter how they feel, and do a job from beginning to end.

A lot of that comes with consistency.  My children have been taught that no matter how much they may dislike a job, they still have to do it.  They were never allowed to say, "No, I'm not doing that."  That took being consistent with them.  They also had to show me the work they did and if it wasn't done well they had to correct it.  Now, I have to say that I don't expect perfection from my kids.  Their rooms do not look the way I would keep them.  Not even close!  But when I say, "Please clean your room."  They do it.  They straighten, dust it and vacuum it.  I may have to remind them about something and they certainly don't seem to get the corners but it's presentable when they are finished.

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The nice thing about having older children is seeing them start to interact outside of the home.  Nathan is very responsible at the fire house.  He is always telling me, "Mom, I'm going next door to mop." or clean or whatever is needed there.  Stephen's new employer has told me he is responsible and has a good work ethic.  The same goes for Emily.

I think this is such an important thing, especially in a culture today that seems to promote laziness and irresponsibility.  I've tried to instill in my children that if you say you are going to do something than you need to follow through and do it.  Be on time.  Go above and beyond.  Do more than just the minimum.

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They are still a work in progress and sometimes mess up.  Nathan, with his disability, needs a lot more supervision and follow-up in some areas because his focusing ability is not the best.  Emily is still young and needs a lot more reminders.  But, I am pleased that as they grow up, they are becoming people who will contribute well!

And that is the goal as a parent.