Friday, July 31, 2009

Do kids know the value of hard work?

My dad gave me a book a couple of years ago for Christmas. When I unwrapped it I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was his memoirs. In one of his chapters he discusses how his mother used to take him as a boy to the cotton fields of South Texas. There my dad and his mother picked rows and rows of cotton. They would get picked up each morning and ride in the back of a pick up truck and then get dropped off at their destination.

Picking cotton was back-breaking work according to my dad. He would have to carry around a bag of cotton that almost weighed as much as him. It really got me thinking how spoiled some of us are. I feel guilty working in an air conditioned office. I have been working in and out of different offices for the past 15 years. I often work bell to bell. That is nothing compared to doing hard labor in the hot South Texas cotton fields. I know a lot of Americans work outdoors as laborers. It also got me thinking about how some kids don't know the value of hard work. How some kids expect everything to be handed to them.

Do the kids of today know the value of hard work? I'm not sure. I know if my kids want something they have to earn it. My kids can earn money by bringing home good grades and by also helping around the house. We have been very fortunate, my kids have been bringing home good grades every grading period. They earn a allowance from getting good grades. It is enough to get the things that they need.

There are several things that we can do to teach our kids a good work ethic. According to the website Xomba there are 7 tips for teaching a good work ethic:

  1. Homework- Since homework is a daily task, strive to have your child complete all of it, including the studying (which for some unknown reason, kids nowadays do not consider as "homework"). Explain that finishing the work completely in a reasonable amount of time leaves them free to pursue other interests.
  2. Give them reasonable chores- As soon as your child is able, let them participate. Most kids love to clean. More than anything, they love to please their parents. Let your children feel this sense of accomplishment and participation on a regular basis.
  3. Take your child to your own work.-Parents have to work. Try taking your child to your own work. Explain that you have to report there during certain hours and exactly what you do each day. Not only does this let your child know were you spend your days, it also brings a better appreciation for the hard work of parents. This is a great time to explain that work is a part of every day, just like eating, sleeping and playing.
  4. Praise successes.-Nothing keeps a child coming back for more than praise from Mom and Dad. Thank-you for a job well-done and big hugs for hard work are the key to encouraging your child to continue trying to please you. Praise builds up their self-esteem and encourages them to continue striving to do their best.
  5. Fair share-Make sure you provide a reasonable amount of tasks in relation to other family members, especially other children. The lesson from regular tasks is not to build resentment. It's to encourage your child to complete a task from start to finish.
  6. Routine-You might feel varying the weekly or monthly routine of tasks for your child is great. But check with your child first. Some kids just don't care for change very much. Kids like familiarity and it helps them to know exactly what parents expect from them.
  7. Have your child choose his work- Including a child in planning and doling out the family chores helps build their sense of responsibility. The get to have an active role in the home. This empowers them to look more positively at their own tasks and strive to complete them well.

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