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teaching hard work


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A few weeks ago in our young adult Sunday School class, I was requesting that our group's annual fundraiser money be used to overhaul the chuch playground that was in horrendous shape. Most of our class members have small kids that would utilize the playground, but we drag our kids by as fast as possible because it is so bad!


Two days later, one of the dads emailed out a plan to everyone. "I think for minimal money, we can do these 84,000 things to basically level the old one and start over." He had a hand-drawn blueprint, he had figured out the needed supplies and cost, etc. He said, "on Sat, 8/21, I will be working on the playground overhaul project. I would appreciate as many of you as possible coming to help." And it got done start to finish today.


Have you ever known those people who just ALWAYS put in a great effort to do the best they can??


*HOW* do you teach a good work ethic? Even when things need to be done that aren't fun. I want my kids to be like Mr. Stewart when they grow up. I assume rewards/bribes, coercion, and threats of punishment aren't going to really change their long-term behavior.


I tell my kids about a 1000 times a day "do your very best, with a smile!", and I try to model that. But I already see two of them (age 5) beginning to make decisions like taking the easy way out rather than doing their best.


Who's got the million dollar answer?? :)

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Some of it is hard wired though. I am type A and dh is maybe an A- :) and only our 3rd child is hard working with a smile. Our 2nd does OK. Our 1st is passionate about learning but lazy.


Today the oldest and I were working on lego mindstorms tutorials and got stuck on one. DS basically quit but I couldn't let it go...I kept trying all kinds of things. Then he made a comment about how I'd failed! I said no I haven't failed until I quit. I worked and worked and worked at it until I got it, demonstrated it to the family and explained what I had learned and what the problem had been. I also pointed out that the difference between failure and success is often effort. I don't think he got it:glare:

But I bet the youngest got it even though he didn't need the lesson. he'll probably repeat it back to me next week :tongue_smilie:


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Funny I should read this after spending all day helping my ds on two algebra 2 problems. He said he'd just consult the teacher onMonday but it bugged me so I kept at it and finally got it. I hope he learned a lesson. Some of my kids are better at persistance than others. It seems there is a personality component.

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Hmm, with triplets and another baby, I'm betting y'all are already modeling hard work. :)


This is a subject that we focus on a LOT! Modeling is absolutely key. I think you also need to couple that with narrating what you're doing. "I'm cleaning the floor b/c it is easier to clean it if we get the spills up right away and then our house it so nice and clean." Or something much more fun than that, but you get the idea. Draw your kids attention to it, 'cause otherwise, they may miss it.


Schedule chores and work for them to do. Make it a natural part of their day. If they are used to doing chores then adding on as they get older is not big deal. Plus they realize that most jobs don't take nearly as long as they dread it might. dltk.com has some great customizable, character chore charts that my kids liked.


We also read Created For Work. Very short chapters that emphasize different aspects of work. We read one chapter then try to focus on that one character trait each week.


More fun note - let them start planning and implementing projects around the house. At 5, they could plan and help with making a meal. If they can write, they can peruse a kid cookbook, make a shopping list, help with bargain shopping, help with safe parts on meal prep, set table, wipe counters, etc. My kids enjoy this and really take ownership of their projects.


Now that mine are older, I'm allowing them to take more control of their school schedules. They are picking longer term projects and breaking them down into manageable parts.


Fingers crossed some of this will work for them. Looking forward to reading other responses.

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My ds does chores. My dh is a carpenter, we live in fixer-uppers (getting ready to move again), we currently have 3 acres that need cared for, and ds helped dh work on the car the other day.


Dh and ds are currently working on a family member's home. It's a paid job, but ds will be working alongside dh.


Aside from that, we model hard work. Dh has had ds helping on projects since he was little. We've always made sure he knows his input is needed and appreciated. Even when he was only old enough to hand me dishes or hold the bucket of nails, we told him how much he helped and that we got done faster because he was there.


Everyone likes to feel good about a job well done. Well done being appropriate for age and ability. While ds may balk sometimes he relishes the time spent with his dad.


Dh and I were just talking about this the other day. I also think part of the issue with some people is lack of critical thinking skills. Hard work is usually just that, hard work. If you can't break down the process into manageable steps it can feel overwhelming. How many people, myself included, get frustrated with an exercise program. We don't see the big results right away and if we are unable to understand the small steps along the way, it just turns into frustrating hard work and you quit.

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Well, I don't think at 5 you can tell what they will be like at 25 or 35. It is so true that you reap what you sow. It looks like you are doing a great job teaching your children about hard work, but you may not see dividends until they mature.


1) teach the principle, consistently and train them daily. Your daily reminder to work hard with a smile is right on.


2) model it. Your kids will learn sooooo much from what you and dh are doing! You know that, but it's hard to see when they are so little.


3) point out those who are modeling great behavior. Making a show of what Mr. Stewart did, how hard he worked and how much he blessed all the children through his commitment is another way to bring home the teaching.


4) and then practical, developmentally-appropriate hard work for your dc. Help with chores from the getgo, earn money for their own wants, and learning to give to others that need help will be excellent ways to continue teaching your dc as they grow.




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For me, some of it is a matter of having the necessary confidence. Mr. Stewart jumped in to do the project because his basic approach to life's challenges is "I can do something positive about that." OTOH, your child may back away from doing big things because he is thinking "I can't do anything meaningful about that." The confidence is lacking, perhaps, not the servant's heart.


In addition, for me at times it's a matter of having the necessary resources. Mr. Stewart jumped in to do the project because he feels he has what is needed -- the time, the money, the physical energy, the practical know-how, the background experience, the leadership ability, the communication tools, the family support, and so on. Another person might want to do something, might have even been a part of the work crew that Saturday.... but the reluctance to lead or head up a project might stem from something totally unrelated to wanting to help. There have been times at church when I've had to say no to leadership simply because we are struggling financially so much now. I can't, in all good faith, say "Yes" to something that I know will cost me money we do not have. We are having a hard time of it, just to have groceries from week to week.


I think that if the confidence is there, it is easier to step forward and get things done. I would not expect young children -- certainly NOT five year olds -- to have much confidence in leadership, because their experience is so limited. What expertise do they really own? But as they grow in knowledge, wisdom, stature, and experience, they should at times be able and willing to say "I can do something about that!" And then, they should be able to follow through with a well-thought-out plan. But this has to be demonstrated and modeled by mentors over time. If it's something you want to see in them, give them opportunities to lead each other and their friends in projects with increasing levels of risk. Teach them how to handle "failure" and even rejection of their offered leadership. Give them resources for the projects which they do undertake (e.g., garbage bags and work gloves for cleaning up a section of highway/park).


Finally, I think that it's great to be a part of group. We learn in groups -- sometimes we learn good things! ;) In your group's case, the "easy" solution to the playground problem was to throw money into it. Mr. Stewart, resourceful "can-do" man that he is, put some thought, time, and elbow grease into it -- along with others -- and came up with a less expensive solution, one that also built a sense of ownership and pride in the playground.


Do you think the people who participated in the work day will trash the playground easily, or will they treat it like their "own?" Mr. Stewart is brilliant. :D

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