Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Much of the time we refer to this verse and think of the spiritual aspect of life, but the work ethic aspect found in this verse is important to God also. It is vital to teach your kids right from the beginning that work is a part of life. Performing daily mundane tasks such as cleaning a bedroom, doing the dishes, or taking out the garbage are part of each teenager’s work responsibility. The lesson underlying each task is the “invisible” lesson which helps develop the teenager’s character and prepares them for becoming responsible adults.
As you read this, you have done things today that you did not want to do, but that is a part of life. Teaching children to have a work ethic is a task that will take effort on your behalf; the earlier you start teaching your children about the importance of having a work ethic, the better off you will be.
If, when you read this article, you feel like you have already lost the battle, think again. The battle may require more of your energy and may go on for quite some time, but, if you don’t engage, there will be tragic consequences.
To begin, create a strategy which lets you move forward one step at a time. Don’t try to eat the whole elephant in one bite or you will fail. Instead, start small with strong expectations and continue to gradually build. Use self control in your confrontation when your child does not complete the task or they fail to complete it as thoroughly or correctly as you expect.
As an example, with our first cat, I took care of the food and litter pan because we had gotten the cat before we had kids. After our cat passed away, my kids begged for another cat, and I gave in and let them get two cats. However, I made the rule that I would not take care of the cats, but that my kids would need to take full responsibility for them. Since then, while my wife & I may occasionally have to remind our girls, they have accepted the challenge and followed through quite well, tending to the cats’ food & water as well as their litter pan.
Train your child to be a good worker and watch with anticipation the beautiful fruit produced in its season.