It’s funny how children often think they know best. So sure of themselves and their decisions. Not wanting to open their minds and try something new but just wanting to go along with what they know and what is easy. It’s to be expected though, right? Kids grow up far too quickly and want to be the boss but of course it is our job as parents to rein them back in and to present new opportunities to help expand their minds.
The worry comes when you see parents that never challenge their kids, they just fall into step and go along with whatever the little one is asking for. How does that end up? With children so spoilt and used to getting their own way that they have no grip on reality and no resilience to deal with the set-backs and rebuffs that will come when they go to university or start to work.
Our job as parents is to help our children grow up to be well-rounded adults. That won’t always be easy and it certainly won’t always be fun but our guidance and correction will help them so much in the long run. I think there is a lot to be said for tough love; us being consistent and carrying through on a consequence when we have issued one is super important.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23
If we teach our children that it is OK to be flaky and to say something one minute and then not to carry through, what happens when they have that first paid job but are too tired to get up in the morning? Well, they just choose not to and instead of working for their money and feeling good about a proper days work, they just ask us for a handout as they lost the job because they couldn’t be bothered to turn up.
I was really sad the other day when I read a post on Facebook about how a company is having trouble recruiting for their esteemed graduate programme. Why were they having trouble? Because it is an early morning start and the graduates don’t want to get up at that time of morning. My word, what kind of world are we now bringing our kids up in? One where they are so pampered and pandered to that they don’t have to make any effort anymore and they are not willing to put in a hard days work.
They are missing out on so much satisfaction and personal growth. I used to love falling into bed after a 12 hour day on my feet when I was a hotel trainee manager. I knew I had worked hard, learnt loads and achieved a real sense of satisfaction with the service I had provided. My JJ is 12 now, coming on 13 and already he knows what it is like to work and enjoy it. I have to admit that I do feel proud that my 12 year old willingly volunteers at the local food bank warehouse every other week. He also helps out with many different tasks at the conference centre where we live – marshalling races, being a parking attendant, helping in the tea room, joining the maintenance team or stock taking in the kitchen.
The girls want to be involved too, even though they are still only 8 they are happy to pick apples or price items in the bookshop. Of course the tasks they can be involved with have to be age appropriate but they love to help out. Kids like to feel useful and when we don’t allow them to do the simple things like prepare dinner, make their bed or hoover the lounge we take away their learning and rob them of their self-satisfaction.
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35
Acts 20:35 reminds us that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’ and I want my children to be in the business of giving, to be generous in spirit and worldly goods. When we choose to focus on others, to serve, to work hard and to give away what we have then we will find true satisfaction.
In this age of instant gratification and sky-high expectations we have to ensure our children understand that things have value and they have to be earned and that means work in whatever form it takes.
Are you with me? Will you help your children to learn a strong work ethic?