Pardon me while I'm gettin' on my soap box.
Right now I have a young man weed eating all of the fox tails that have about darn near taken over the farm. He is a sophomore in high school and has called my husband asking for work. He is wanting to work this Summer to obviously make some money and be productive. I am thankful to see a work ethic being formed and shaped, parents instilling a sense of drive in their boy, and I'm thankful to be able to give someone a job. Work is a beautiful thing.
I get very frustrated and flustered at our culture these days. There is this mentality that hard work is for the 'lower class' or for those who aren't smart enough to go to college. No one wants to sweat, work, do physical labor, and just plain 'get after it' when it comes to making a living. We are told that it is better to make money with our brain than with our brawn. I want to reply to this, "Why not both?"
We have a sea of boys and girls, young people, and adults who don't know how to work. Sure, they have skills that they learned in college that has prepared them for a job that they are desiring, but do they know how to do any of the day to day stuff? Do they know how to mow a lawn and fix the lawn mower when it breaks down? Do they know how to replace a faucet, fix a creaky door, patch a hole in the wall, change the oil in the car, and so on? Can they cook a meal, clean the bathrooms, do laundry, and maintain a home? Do they have any life skills that are needed for our more basic needs?
Let me just say I think college is highly beneficial in our day and age. It's hard to get about any job available without any sort of degree and I think that is a good and a bad thing. Life experience can be a better teacher in many cases than a classroom. Now I want a surgeon who has studied hard, learned all about the body and it's functions, and who has experience performing surgeries. I want a lawyer to defend my innocence who knows the law through and through and has spent the time to learn how the court system operates. I want an accountant who knows how to properly handle the paperwork and be very smart with the math skills needed. I am NOT knocking education, but I am trying to make a point.
Physical work produces an enduring spirit in a person and it encourages common sense. My husband and I make it a point to involve our kids in our work. Whether it's Seth taking the kids to a construction job and letting them see what he does or myself involving the kids in the kitchen or having them help me do chores around the house. My son is already learning how to pour concrete and helps with the to-do's around the farm. Both of my kids help feed the animals, clean out the barn and chicken coop, set the table, clean the house, and etc. They love to help and we love that they are learning how to work and the satisfaction that comes from seeing what has been accomplished. When my kids see Seth or I come to a problem, they also see us figure out how to solve it and move forward. Problem solving is something that needs to be taught, instilled, and encouraged. It doesn't come naturally. Don't believe me? Just watch any child that can't figure out what they're desiring and usually they start to throw a fit.
Don't think that I'm saying, "if you don't live on a farm, do construction, or make a living doing physical labor, then you don't know how to work or are lazy." I know plenty of people to don't work a 'physical' job, but are very hard working. My point is mainly geared towards parents.
Parents, don't fall into the trap that your kids should be allowed to play all day, every day. Don't tell yourself that since they have to work for the rest of their lives, that they should be able to do whatever they want right now. If you do, I'm afraid your setting them up for failure. Teach them how to work, how to use their bodies to do something useful and to use their brains to always figure out a better way. Teach them that being productive can in many ways be more satisfying than hours of entertainment. Teach them that work is a part of reality and that rest is a reward for the time spent accomplishing a task. Teach them that brains and brawn work better together than apart.
All-in-all, kids should be able to be kids, they should get plenty of time to play and exercise their imagination, they should be taught how to work with their bodies and how to think with their brains. They need to know that all of life is not fun and play, or they'll be like so many today - selfish and lazy.
I know I'm a young parent and so you probably think that I need about 15 more years of parenting under my belt in order to give this advice. I am giving you this advice out of experience though. Maybe not out of experience of being a parent, but experience of being a child who was taught by two very hard working, smart, and productive parents. Parents who thought it better for me to learn how to raise animals, grow a garden, take care of a house, be studious in school, and to know what was involved in real life than having me grow up to believe that life was all about gratifying self.
Steppin' down now.