Monday, September 24, 2012

Teaching our children to work hard....and love it.

  One of my big goals in raising children is to teach them to Love God and others, be diligent and honest and to work hard. Work is something given to us by God and I truly believe it is a good thing. I think it is something to be enjoyed- not something to be dreaded. There are many verses about how we shouldn't be lazy as well as talking about how we should work. Here is one I enjoy:

   "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." Colossians 3:23 & 24

 Our kids do love to work much of the time and will even do it without being asked at times but they are still regular kids who will complain at times too. Our family is a work in progress, just like yours. Here are some things I have thought of however that help to encourage my kids in working hard and enjoying it.

Here they are in no particular order:

  • Be a good example. When we as parents work hard and enjoy it then our kids will learn to do that to. I firmly believe you can basically enjoy all work - I believe that career choices should be made by considering what you are good at and enjoy rather than what will make you the richest- even if the work you need to do is not the one you naturally enjoy- you can still choose to enjoy it.
  • Show them how. Have you ever been told to do something but didn't know how to do it but where not offered any training or very little? I have- and that wasn't very fun! However I have been guilty of doing that same thing to my children. I am working to make sure not to do that anymore. Training is very important for being able to do many jobs well. You might check out my post about my "Highly entertaining bathroom cleaning demonstration."
  • Chore Chart. In our family we have found it useful to have a chore chart. We have chores that they need to do throughout the week every single week. With a chore chart the kids know in advance that they need to do those things and that way they can prepare mentally and having to work doesn't take them be surprise and cause them to be upset by it. Our children do usually do quite a bit of work that isn't on their chore chart (because it is seasonal or whatever) but at least the chart is a start.
  • Work together. This is one that my parents were always good at doing and they stressed that importance to us too and I have found it to be very helpful. When you work with your children you can encourage them as you go along and work is just more fun (at least for more of us) when you have somebody to visit with while you are doing it.
  • Let them do work they enjoy. Now this is not something that we follow 100% at all but if it is possible then it is nice to divide out the work so that each one is doing something they like to do. Some examples from our family: Mara loves garden work (at least most of it)- Jonathan not so much but he loves to vacuum. clean or bake. When possible I try to let them do those things that they like to do. There are sometimes though when I do make sure they do the things they don't care for just because I want to make sure that they do know how to do it. I want well educated children. :-)
  • Talk about how important it is to our family. It is important that children realize that what they are doing is indeed important. If we are putting up food for the year we talk about how nice it is that we can have good wholesome food ready for the winter, if we are cleaning I might remind them of how important it is that we work together as a family to keep our home nice for us and company (and how each of us contribute to the dirtiness so we each need to contribute to the cleaning up), if they are helping me with my business (Wedding Flowers) or cooking or cleaning while I work on my business we may talk about the extras we can afford because of this business. Our children are important- I couldn't do nearly the amount of things that I do without them!
  • Pay them at times. In our family we have chosen to have some jobs around our place that are paying jobs. We do not give an allowance to our children but they are able to earn some money which they use to pay for things like bikes, birthday presents and other odds and ends and so through that they learn about money management. Some of the jobs we have chosen to pay for in our family have been mowing and vacuuming our van. I will also come up with other extra jobs now and then.
  • Read stories or verses that show the benefit of hard work. The book of Proverbs has many illustrations of the benefits of hard work and also talks about how laziness is not good. We have also been enjoying reading "Man of the Family" by Ralph Moody and another book of short stories about farming. Reading things like these make our children realize that it is not just me that thinks hard work is a good thing. Also in books like "Man of the Family" the main character is an 11 year old boy who loves to work hard and wants to take care of his mom and siblings.
  • Expect them to do a good job. Part of teaching our children to work hard is to then also expect them to do a good job. We do watch over their work (sometimes called inspection) and they are often asked to repeat something if they did not do it well. This is part of learning.
  • Be patient. Though we do want a job done well we do also need to be patient and kind. We don't want to burn our workers out. They are smaller, they are still learning and just like us they are not perfect. This is one I am still learning on!
  • Pray. This is something I do often. I want children that will glorify God with their lives and I believe that diligence and hard work are a part of that. I pray often for them in this area and for me to have wisdom in training them.

These are some ideas that have worked for us in our household and on our homestead. I hope they might be helpful to you as well.

 But now I had better get going- we are off to help butcher chickens today at my parents. Jonathan is quite excited as he very much enjoys butchering time. The other kids aren't so into it so they will probably not do a lot of hands on butchering help (perhaps packaging and such) but will try to help in other ways.

I would love to hear any tips or ideas that you have!

 I am linking this to the Barn Hop at Homestead Revival.


Chris said...

Hi Abbi, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

Wonderwoman said...

Very well written. Work is something I love to do and has been a part of my daughter's life always. I remember when she was really little (2-3 yrs) and people would hear that she had everyday chores and most acted like that was a horrible thing!

Have a wonderful day...

Jill of all Trades said...

Great post. I've been doing chores since I was about two! I'm grateful my parents gave us chores to do because now I'm an adult with an excellent work ethic, which has served me well in all my jobs.

I would add to remember to be humorous. My gramma loved the movie Mary Poppins so when all my younger cousins were gathered around and it was chore time, I'd start to sing, "In every job that must be done...there is an element of fun..." and so on, complete with Julie Andrews' British accent. It put everyoen in a good mood to start the chores.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin