Teach your kids to have about work ethic while they’re young

The best part of spring break for me is spending time with my kids during the break. Usually I find a vast array of home projects that need to be done and this year is no different.

I’ve been wanting to repaint our living room for some time now. I had Jimmy pick up some paint on the last snow day and I managed to get one wall done, but I’ve been staring at the unfinished project ever since.

If you ask Jimmy he would say I could be the queen of unfinished projects. That might have some truth to it, I admit.

Rhonda Sexton

I get great ideas and know what will be great, so I get started with enthusiasm and vigor. I can see the finished project in my mind so when I run into a snag, I know that eventually it will look great.

It’s those snags that throw me off.

Many times I either don’t have the supplies or right tool to finish the job so I’ll put it off for another day or weekend, but by then I’ve got other obligations or plans and days turn into weeks.

Usually, I forget to pick up the tool or product I need so when I find an extra minute I can’t work on it.

It’s not like I have a lot of company that comes over so usually I don’t have a hard deadline to get things done, either, giving me more room to put it off.

Soon, I’ll start to get frustrated at myself for being so lazy and finding too many excuses and finally make myself get busy and once it’s done, I feel so much better and can enjoy it.

I think a lot of us are like that in one way or another from time to time. By making my kids help out over spring break I hope that, even though they don’t want to be helping paint, they are learning lessons for life.

They are doing something productive because their mom needs help and not for pay. They will be able to look at their work with pride for years to come and we are making memories with each other that will be important to us forever.

Life is made of many small moments like these, sharing our time and company doing some things we want to do and some things we’d rather not but need to.

A serious, productive work ethic seems to be one of those things that is becoming less prevalent in our society. I remember grumbling and complaining as a youngster about doing my chores and helping around the house, too, but I didn’t get a choice, just like I’m not giving my kids a choice.

It brings to mind a quote I learned during my days in sales from some motivational conference: “Do the things today that others won’t, so you will be able to do tomorrow the things that others can’t.”

A strong work ethic is important because it can set you apart from others in the workplace and in life. People want to know you will follow through on your word.

People like doing business with others that get things done. No one likes to put trust in someone that talks a good game but doesn’t deliver.

It is frustrating and in the end costs time and money.

I want my kids to realize and master these truths at an early age so they don’t have to struggle as young adults.

I see it all too often, when young adults don’t have a strong work ethic and they can’t understand why they can’t keep jobs or relationships. It does carry over past the workplace into everyday life.

Relationships are hard work, requiring effort on both sides. When one person feels like there is more effort on their side they begin to resent the other person for not being there for what they needed.

How are these lessons learned if we don’t require our children to be aware of another’s needs and teach them to take action to help, even if they don’t want to?

Helping out neighbors and grandparents is a great way to teach your kids compassion, and the value of helping others for the joy of it and not for money.

Work ethic doesn’t mean we will never have lazy days or put things off, but just like my unfinished household projects, it does mean that eventually we will look at our obligation and finish it because we know we should and we will feel better when it’s done.

(Rhonda Sexton is an author and inspirational speaker. She lives in Neosho with her husband and children. She can be reached at info@rhondasexton.org or 417-389-1222.)

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