We are among a growing generation of children and young adults with a knack for entitlement and entertainment. They believe they are owed something, whether or not they have worked hard for it and that life is lived for entertainment.
And with a culture that is driven by entertainment rather than work ethic, it is hard to turn that mentality around. I have found myself falling into the same trap. As a mother, I seem to lean toward wanting to make things easier for my children. But the truth is, I'm not doing them any favors. I am teaching them laziness and preventing them from learning the reward of hard work on it's own.
When I take on the thinking that I can do it faster and more efficiently, I rob them of opportunity. And what do I do instead? I give them some form of entertainment in it's place: the iPad, the TV, toys, etc. I distract them with entertainment.
I cannot expect my children to have a high standard of work ethic if I don’t instill one in them.
For a while I did not recognize what I was doing. It wasn't until I would ask something of my children, such as wipe the table down, or put your items away from the living room, and I was met with groaning, that I realized what I'd been doing.
In order to combat this weak work ethic, I instilled three tools.
1. Personal schedules and responsibilities
I created a schedule for each child so there was no question what their responsibilities are and when they are to be completed. This took an investment of time up front since I have seven children, but it eliminated a lot of repeating myself and nagging. When a child would lament they didn’t know what to do, I would point them to their schedule to find out.
In addition, laminating these schedules allows them to cross off items with a dry erase marker so they can see their progress and have sense of accomplishment.
2. Work before play
We have adopted the old adage, work before play. It’s extremely useful as it helps to motivate my children to have a purpose and an end in sight — and somewhat of a reward for completion. But also, it helps them understand the value and necessity of work.
Despite the push of our culture for constant entertainment, we weren't created for so much entertainment. Too much entertainment makes us lazy and feel entitled. It’s not healthy for families or society.
3. Reward for good work and taking initiative
Every once in a while, at the end of a work week, our children will be rewarded for their hard work throughout the week. Not only with chores, but with school as well.
We will either watch a family movie and have a treat, or do something out of the house such as bowling. The sky is the limit here. You could go out for ice cream, go to the park, out to the movies. Whatever suits your family's interests.
Let your children see that hard work pays off! Not every week, but every once in a while. And be spontaneous about it so they don't expect it and that be the only reason they work hard. Work can be it's own reward as well.
Why is work ethic important and why has it been lost today? Because the entertainment industry is booming and it's easier to be lazy. It's easier not to battle with our children about doing their chores and doing it with excellence. I am just as guilty of this.
We all should work to be excellent in all that we do.
We want future employers to hire our kids once they are older and we want them to care about how well they perform a job because it reflects their character and integrity.
What are you doing to ensure your children are raised with excellent work ethic? Share your ideas in the comments!