15. Teach your children to work. Another way we spur our children forward on the path of becoming productive and independent adults is to teach them how to work. The irony is that despite its value, most kids are not too interested in developing this skill. The best way to get them started is to work alongside your children. We tried, in our family, to make working together as natural as playing together. Our kids helping us clean the garage or raking the leaves became just as much a part of family life as playing children’s games or building Lego cities with our children. Your influence in the “work alongside Daddy” increases when you, the adult, “play alongside” as well. Having your kids work alongside you teaches them the necessary specific skill of that job as well as the overall value of work.
Persistence and consistency on your part is an important part of teaching children to work. After the “newness” of mowing the lawn or spraying the Windex wore off, our kid’s reaction to these jobs was generally not too positive. But consistent expectation from Mom and Dad and praise for a job well done usually led to the youngster soon taking pride in their work.
While diligence in its own right is a virtue, it also translates to value in the job market. We taught our children to pursue careers that God had gifted them to enjoy without too much focus on the ups and downs in the economy or perceived demand for a particular field of study. Hard workers will always be in demand.
A subpoint of teaching children to work is teaching “life skills” to our kids. Click here for a Life Skills summary adapted from The Teaching Home magazine. This list of goals for training children is a great starting point for the things we would like our children to learn throughout their growing-up years. Don’t fear another “list”. These are not meant to be overwhelming. They are just things to teach our children in the ordinary flow of life, not a new task to complete.