It was the first day of summer in 1984. He was 14 years old.
His dad woke him up before work and said there’s a load of sand in the driveway and shovel. He told him by the time he got home from work, he wanted the low spots in the backyard filled.
There were similar projects all summer long.
That’s how my husband was raised.
(I was raised scooping dog poop in the hot Texas sun, so don’t feel too sorry for him.)
There was also summer fun for both of us -bike riding and baseball playing, But there was also a lot of hard work. We didn’t sleep until noon or play video games until the middle of the night while mom fixed lunch everyday and did all the laundry.
We have come along way, huh? Maybe it’s time to backtrack.
Because when I declare it’s yard work day at my house, it’s like the End Times around here. We ignore the groans and moans and wailing and push through. Because hard work is good for kids. Not only does it teach them to be grateful for what you do all day long, it creates a work ethic in them that will carry them into adulthood.
Here are 15 ways to teach kids how to work hard:
- Don’t do everything for them: It sounds simple, but kids will let you do everything for them as long as you do everything for them.
- Require them to take care of their own space. They won’t clean it up you say? Try the age old “you can’t do or have this (fill in the blank) until you clean up this (fill in the blank)” and I bet they will.
- Make them sweat a little. Like literally get their hands dirty picking up the busted trash in the street, washing the car, or the bottom of the trash can. It’s okay. They will survive.
- Start early. (And remember it’s never too late to start).
- Make work part of your family routine. This is just something we do. We take care of what God has given us.
- Let them learn from their mistakes (don’t jump in to fix or redo everything they try to do) Let it go.
- Make work fun (chore roulette).
- Be an example of hard work-Let them see you working hard.
- Serve as a family (perspective is everything). This has been huge for us.
- Be an encourager (and not a control freak).
- Let your kids be in charge of dinner (from grocery shopping to putting it on the table). Last week my son prepared dinner for the family. I needed his help and he did a great job. He doubted at first, but ended up really proud of himself.
- Give them a chance to earn money, so they can learn how to handle it. This has been the single best thing to eliminate the gimme gimmes.
- Teach them to save and give a % of their money.
- Give them projects that require time management skills (like dirt on the driveway)
- Be consistent
I married a hard-working man who is working hard to raise children who aren’t lazy. And I need to tell his parents thank you.