The other day when I was checking out my Facebook page, much to my surprise, I read the following words that my adult son, Doug, had posted:
“Thankful for the ways that the Lord provides for my family. He gave me a strong back and what seems to be a never ending supply of work with multiple different companies throughout the year. He also gave me 2 great parents as examples of how to work and provide for a home as well. I just wish that most of my generation and almost all of the generation behind me would realise (sic) that if you need something you WORK for it.”
Other than the misspelling and a couple grammar and punctuation faux pas, I could never have been prouder of my son. He is currently working his full-time job and two part-time jobs so his wife can be home full-time with their two young children.
I tell you this for the purpose of letting any parent or anyone mentoring children know that the children REALLY are watching and listening. All the years of feeling like you are talking to a brick wall will eventually pay off. Now, all of you parents whose children have not crossed over into the abyss of the teen years won’t totally understand this, but trust me, the parents of current and former teenagers will totally “get it.”
I can remember praying for Doug, even before he was born, that God would give him a good work ethic and that he would see that work is a gift from God. Raising a lazy child was actually somewhat of a fear I had. And then it happened. About the time he was getting old enough to REALLY do actual work, I thought my greatest nightmare had come true — a lazy child. I wasn’t sure what to do about it, but I knew I had a VERY important battle calling me to the front lines — a battle worth fighting. It is true that when rearing children, you have to pick your battles. Parents — this one is worth the fight.
Helping your child realize that work is actually a blessing, not a curse, is not the accepted norm anymore. Other parents make you feel like you’re a slave driver or something, but it was always my son who was first at baseball practice helping the coach unload the equipment and helping him rake the infield, etc., and the last one to leave helping coach get it all loaded up again while the other kids just showed up right on time to play and left the coaches to do all the work. It was worth the extra time to get him to practice early and leaving late to teach him that if you want to play, you have to work. No matter what kind of horrible parent you may appear to others for “making your child work,” if you stick to your guns, it could be your 29-year-old child someday posting something like this on Facebook.
Find ways to teach the kids in your Sunday school class how to work, even if it’s just assigning your regulars to come a little early and set up chairs or things of that nature. Give them age-appropriate responsibilities. Let them know you’re counting on them. Teach them how to work and that work is a blessing in and of itself. You could have a short help report each week where they can tell everyone something they did to help someone that week. It gives them self-worth and a heart for others. It helps them think outside of themselves.
Parents and kidmin workers, let’s not spoil our kids, no matter what the other kids and their parents are doing. God will reward this. I promise!