Teach Them to Work Young, They Will Thank You Later

A lot of people I know are looking at the generation coming up and wondering where the work ethic has gone.  I have been on many forums over the years and the story is the same through much of the world.  It seems that as parents we always want our kids to have it better than we had it, which is the way it should be.  

In that way of thinking though, we have made ourselves believe that maybe we were overworked as children and we have come to the idea that we would be doing our children a disservice by having them work as well.  Now I’m not saying that you ought to work your kids to the bone, but give them little jobs that they can do and feel like they accomplished something.

On our small scale farm my children have reached the age that now is the time that they are just big enough to do some of the jobs that aren’t overly complicated but are time consuming, such as stacking firewood or helping feed the animals.  This week has found me laid up with my back thrown out, kind of hard to pitch hay with the bending and twisting that goes with it.  My nine year old son actually volunteered to help me feed, you can see him in the video smiling the whole time.

He knows that he is taking the burden off of his father at a time daddy can use a little break.  It made him feel like he was really part of the process and it really helped me feel good about having him out there and enjoying it.  That’s what it is all about, this process of working towards the kind of life that we want to build here would not be the same if all members of the family weren’t on board and willing to share the work, however minor that work may be.

It is not always easy to get your kids to do things like that though, sometimes it is hard to make them believe that working can be fun if you look at it the right way.  Here we try to make the work a family event as much as possible, there is always a lot of joking involved as we are a household that relies on humor to keep a positive outlook.  It’s not always easy.

There are times when the work load gets just plain overwhelming and tension does get high.  There are times when daddy is just plain grumpy for no good reason and that isn’t conducive to having the kids enjoy the process.  Summer around here is rough for that kind of thing but we all power through it.

The take away from all of this is that if you don’t teach your kids to work young and actually enjoy the work then by the time they are adults they won’t know how to work and life is hard for people not willing to work for what they have.  Teach your kids that they have to earn what they have, there are no free rides and good things don’t come easy.  Teach them to respect a job well done, to respect the process and the knowledge gained with every experience that only people who work with their hands seem to gain.  Don’t think that by giving them small jobs to do that you are robbing them of their childhood, childhood is where they learn how to be productive adults.


With all of that said, you folks have a wonderful day.

Jim the Tradesman

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