I grew up on a dairy farm in Southeast Missouri. Most of my friends and classmates were farm kids as well, although a few were "city kids". That meant they lived in the small town of about 90 people. It was common knowledge that farm kids had to work, but city kids didn't, and we often complained about that fact. Farm kids had to get up at 5 AM and milk cows before they went to school. After school we had to milk the cows again, before we could eat and do our homework. In those days rural sports and other kinds of activities were nonexistent. Quite literally we had to work for our family to eat.
We live in a different world today. Our children don't have to work for our family to eat. But the work ethic that comes from this is still an important part of life. A big part of how we see ourselves, comes from how we work and earn a living. The same is true for children. If they work, they feel better about themselves. Ironically in order to make life easier for us, we tend to do their work for them. If only they could see into the future, or if we could see into their future, we would recognize how we are hobbling them. Starting at a young age children naturally want to work, to be involved in the activities around the home. It jhelps them feel useful and builds true self-esteem.
So start young; give children jobs that need to be done. They will develop a work ethic that carries over into their school and vocation throughout life.
Every day I get to see students with similar abilities who enjoy different levels of success. The difference is usually a work ethic. Even students with serious learning disabilities can be very successful, if they possess the kind of work ethic required to make that happen. We have several students who demonstrate this right now at Epiphany. No matter where your child is now in their work ethic, it can improve. A very few children actually work too hard and worry that it's not enough. That's a different problem for a different blog. Talk to me if you have that situation. For most of us, we need to resolve now to gradually build our children's work ethic. Thanks for reading.
Blessings on your parenting,
Tim Miesner, Principal