A mantra you hear in our house repeated over and over and over and over, is the phrase "we work hard. We play hard." Corrie and I desire to help our kids connect the action of hard work with value like money. We want our kids to have cool toys, but we never want them thinking they miraculously appear out of thin air.
Toys, bikes, iPads, xBoxes, Xbox games, or PowerWheel vehicles, all come with an ascribed value typically tied to a set of manhours.
Of course kids want every toy in the world! They don't connect the amount of work hours that is connected to that item/toy/xBox game and frankly, most adults don't either (I'm still relearning myself). We rarely look at that $25 McDonalds bill and think "is this crappy-for-me hamburger, fried, and sugar water worth working at my job for 1 hour (if you make $25/hr)?" Or look at that $200 iPhone and ask ourselves "does this phone help me enough to justify spending and entire days work on it?"
So how do we get our kids to do this. To not want every toy they can ever see or want? The solution: we have to teach them work ethic.
So many of you are wondering where The Real Family Guys Podcast is. We passed our homestudy yesterday and the caseworker, in regards to the house, used the work "impeccable" and also noted that once our paperwork is done, she will verify us "on the spot." So we are likely weeks away from getting our baby in our home officially.
We had a wonderful celebratory evening last night with Outback Steakhouse, some sun tea, and a good Cherry Cavendish tobacco in my pipe. My wife, who has busted so much butt getting this place in order, crashed out at 9:45pm, about the time that Jeff texted me. He asked if we wanted to take a week off to enjoy the celebration, to which I agreed...and crashed out moments later.
So I have this morning off, as I do typically have many Fridays off during the summer, so I'm working on my homestead. Anna elected to go with Momma early this AM to help her clean houses to which we pay her in accordance to how well she works. After the chores that the kids did this morning (I did not ask them to....or even require it), Cora decided to come outside and help me work. So we loaded her up with her shovel and got to work digging.
Let me explain how we do this. I do not pay for kiddie-jobs. By that I mean I do not pay kids big mooonies for working like a little kid. If you work like a little kid I will pay you like a little kid. If you work hard like an adult, I will pay you like an adult and it's not uncommon for a 4 year old or a 6 year old to get paid minimum wage because my kids will BUST BUTT!
So Cora (4 y/o) asked to work today so she grabbed a shovel and she helped build water-retention berms around my new fruit trees. When we work the kids frequently repeat the phrase "we work hard to play hard" over and over and over and over. This is a good thing. They are reminding themselves that we put in hard work so we can play hard. If we want to have neat toys, or drink sodas at the part, or a sundry of other play-things we can do, we must put in hard work. As Robert Heinlein was so fond of saying, "there's no such thing as a free lunch."
So Anna worked with Momma from 9am until 12pm while Cora worked from 10am until 12pm. And she worked hard and better than some of the new young guys I've had on my teams over the years. Kids can learn to work like adults, but only when adults do too.
Oooooh!!!! You heard me. To teach kids to be hard workers, we must first reject the consumer mindset ourselves. We must learn to see every curtain, every bullet, every soda, every Snickers, as man hours...then teach that to your kiddos.
Yes, your kids can learn to love work because they will begin to realize that the things that they want are a job away....or maybe 2-5 jobs away. But they will begin to develop a craving for work since, when they work hard, they play hard.