Ingraining a good work ethic in our children

Teenage Boy With Part Time Job Washing Up In Coffee Shop

Looking back when did you start ‘working’ or earning a wage?  If you are fortunate enough to grow up on a farm, work and play were often combined. While children raised in cities or towns can often pick up paper rounds or odd jobs rather easily.  Other than the wage earned children can also learn life lessons, such as how to hold conversations with adults who aren’t family and timeliness.

Work is such a powerfully good thing in most people’s lives and it’s something we should get our kids hooked on as soon as we can.  Work gets you from ‘wanting’ to ‘having’.  It makes you feel good about yourself and raises your esteem in the eyes of others.  The skills a teenager picks up at a job (even if the pay isn’t great) pay off over a lifetime and ingrain habits and ethics that will be of incredible benefit.  The person who learns to always give his best shot, be punctual, diligent and absolutely trustworthy, has better credentials than someone with an IQ of 150 and a slack attitude.

If we let our teenagers just be an idle leisure class, it robs them of vital training and significance.  Work helps to give life meaning.  It gives you a sense of achievement and it brings you into teamwork.  Most goals and rewards are achieved through work.

Teenage Boy With Part Time Job Washing Up In Coffee Shop

Admittedly, the types of jobs teens usually get are not ones we would envy – flipping burgers, stacking shelves, pushing brooms.  But any work is an essential first step towards higher goals.  There are lots of things in life that are more important than work – relationships, family, social causes, and service to humanity.  Work helps to develop discipline and with self-discipline, you can pursue all these others well and with longevity.


John Cowan, The Parenting Place

Improving and equipping families to thrive.

Read more from John and The Parenting place here.