I don’t know that many parents in this day and age really understand the many ways our kids benefit from having a good work ethic. Work ethic is defined as this: A value based on hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character.
The challenges we face constantly in the adult world are most successfully overcome by the same character qualities needed for a strong work ethic. For instance:
Doing things well, even when we really don’t want to (perseverance) Learning to work well with others (teamwork) Seeing what needs to be done and doing it (initiative) Figuring out how to overcome obstacles in order to accomplish the goal (problem-solving) Become capable and skilled in many areas (confidence)
I look at that list and think, “This is my life in a nutshell.”
Giving our kids regular chores and responsibilities is a perfect way to accomplish this. SO I say, “Onward with chores, onward with projects and, yes, the children need to be doing these on a regular basis!” Not to mention the fact that it lightens our load as moms and helps the household run more efficiently! It can help to have some rewards to help motivate, but it is not necessary every single time. It’s important for our kids to learn to appreciate the good feeling (satisfaction) of a job well done as a reward in itself.
I am not gonna lie. Our kids have no idea how beneficial this will be in their lives, so I guarantee this won’t be met with great enthusiasm. In fact, more times than I can count, the mere mention of work has brought on groans and complaining. Not something I relish or enjoy, but (often out of sheer desperation for help) I have made our kids do it anyway. And do you know what? Our kids now have a reputation for being initiators…seeing what needs to be done and doing it along with a good attitude. They are gaining a good reputation and most of all they are a great reflection of the character of Christ. And isn’t that what it’s really all about anyhow? Being salt and light in every possible way? As our culture becomes lazier, our kids’ good work ethic will stand out even more! This will give them opportunities that many others will not have, simply because they know what doing a good job really looks like.
So don’t be afraid to get those kids working. They may not thank you now. In fact you just may join the the ranks of moms dubbed, “the meanest mothers in the world”. Bear the name with pride because, chances are, they are going to thank you later!
*I share much more about the importance of character over curriculum in a book called The Unhurried Homeschooler, a simple and mercifully short book on homeschooling. You can check it out on Amazon! (aff)