How Can Parents Teach the Value of Work?
Whether it’s uninvited homeschool or everyday chores around the house, our kids knowing the value of working hard at what’s before them is honoring to God. Seth tells us why and gives us some practical tips on how we can help our kids be good workers.
Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people. Luke 9:16
There are not many chores or tasks my young kids can do faster than me. Whether it is cleaning the house, putting away the dishes, or raking the yard, I am faster and better than my kids at working. But all too often I forget that I have a responsibility to train and equip my kids to be capable, working human beings and this begins at a young age.
What keeps me from teaching and equipping my kids with a good work ethic? (For me it is my lack of time, energy, patience, perspective, etc.)
How can I teach my kids how to work?
- The future is coming. Plan accordingly. Jesus knew He wasn’t going to be around forever to help His disciples. So, He gave them opportunities to practice what He wanted them to do. Jesus had them serve the fishes and loaves. In fact, bookending this story are two stories where Jesus sent out His disciples to heal and speak on His behalf (Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-12). Our kids will have their own jobs, homes, and families one day. Plan for this and prepare them for this reality. Use phrases like, “When you have a family…” and, “When you have a job…” to begin teaching them to think about the future.
- Teach a theology of work. Work is something God created us to do (Gen 1:28), not avoid. And we teach this not only by how we work, but also how we talk about work. When it comes to occupational work too often our kids don’t see us at work, but rather they hear us talk about work. Talk about work in a way that you want your kids to think about work (Phil 2:14). Do my kids know the reasons I appreciate my work, or do they only know the things I don’t appreciate about my work?
- Work is more than what we get paid to do. Our family chores are work too and someone must do them. I tell my kids there is a certain amount of work that must be done to be a member of the household (yard care, dishes, laundry, cooking, pet care, baking, cleaning). My kids don’t get paid to do all their chores just like they won’t get paid when they are on their own one day. There are some things we just do as a member of the family and community. Also, the family chores are never going to be all done. What would it be like to learn how to enjoy the family work and find joy in mowing the lawn or cooking a good dinner?
A good work ethic is one easy way we can bless our children and prepare them for a life of doing what God made us to do.
Learning how to work is an important skill everyone should know. Are there any “jobs” around the house you don’t like to do? Why don’t you enjoy that work? What would it take for you to learn to appreciate it at least?
For older kids: Is there any housework you need to learn before you live on your own (laundry, cooking, baking, handiwork)?