Where will they learn to work? Teaching children a lost ethic
Years ago, my husband and I met a retired sociologist in Ontario who had studied immigrant groups now in Canada. He told us, “In all my research, I have never seen an ethnic group that has prospered as much as Dutch Canadians. Generally, they have multi-generational nuclear families and are successful in their jobs. They contribute to their communities and they are satisfied. When I asked him how he explained their flourishing, he replied, “It comes from their Protestant work ethic; their devotion to God, family and church; and the blessing of the Lord.
What is the Protestant work ethic? Max Weber coined the term in his 1904 book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. He said that since the Reformation, Protestants have lived their faith by working diligently in the vocation God has assigned to them. Weber believed that Protestants worked efficiently and lived with discipline and frugality in order to prove their salvation. Protestants themselves, however, would say that they work to glorify, thank and obey God.
But the so-called “Protestant work ethic” goes back more than 1904, even to John Calvin and the Reformation. This is truly the biblical work ethic, and it goes back to creation.
Our permanent mandate
In paradise, Adam and Eve cultivated the Garden of Eden. After the fall, sweat and pain went down in history. But even though some of our work now is painful, God also gives blessings, joy and fulfillment. The mandate of creation to be fruitful and multiply, to fill and subdue the earth, and to exercise dominion over the earth still stands (Genesis 1:28).
For most of human history, parents and children have worked hard just to survive, to have food on the table and a roof over their heads. It is the same in much of the world today. But in the West, we have a more comfortable lifestyle; we have the technology and the machines that perform many of our daily tasks.
So does this mean that we and our children can relax? No, the biblical work ethic still applies. God designed us to follow His pattern by working six days a week and resting one (Exodus 20:8-11). He always calls us to do whatever our hand finds to do with all our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). He further says that if we are able-bodied but not working, we should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Teach our children to work
How do we as parents instill this biblical work ethic in our children? What might diligence look like in their lives? Let’s approach this task by answering the Why, when, How? ‘Or’ Whatand What.
First, Why are we teaching our children to work hard? Because they too will be called upon to fulfill the mandate of creation, and we are responsible for training them. We have about eighteen years to prepare them for adult life. It is a gradual process that requires patience, repetition, wisdom and prayer. Our goal is to equip them to support themselves and their families, and contribute to the well-being of their community by loving and serving their neighbors, all to the glory of God. Then they will experience the byproduct of peaceful awareness and a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Second, when we begin ? Start very young with a few small tasks. Bless them so they never remember a time they did not work. Help them realize that a big part of life is work, and that work is good. Stir up the feeling of excitement in very young children when they do what mom and dad do. So get them involved in the day-to-day chores of running the house – running around getting a diaper for mom to change baby, picking up trash, loading and unloading the dishwasher. Buy work-related toys, like a lawnmower or kitchen. Ride that wave of excitement while it lasts, then keep demanding the work even when it’s not as fun.
That’s when they learn another lesson: perseverance. Remember that if they are able to toss their toys like a tornado, they are able to collect them in a bucket. Play is an important part of childhood, and it’s valuable for learning more about the world around them, but between birth and adulthood, they learn to gradually reduce play time and increase play time. of work. Sitting in front of a screen numbs them and slows their mental growth, while creative play and work develops their minds.
Third, How? ‘Or’ What do we accomplish this task? It is not easy. Some children are naturally diligent, but most are sometimes prone to resistance. You cannot do it alone. Rely on God – find his wisdom in the scriptures, especially Proverbs, and pray for discernment and love. Pray for His guidance as you plan with your spouse. Decide what work is reasonable to expect from each child based on their age and abilities. Set an example of diligence yourselves. Have the expectation firmly anchored in your mind: “Our children will be work,” and let your attitude and your words convey it.
“Have the expectation firmly anchored in your mind, ‘Our children are going to work.'”
Also have a plan in place to deal with resistance when it occurs. Implement natural consequences, such as “If you don’t put your dirty clothes in the hamper, they won’t be washed.” Then follow the warning. Stay calm, firm and positive. Discipline your children when they are young so that they learn self-discipline as they grow up. Persevere; you are in it for the long haul. Remember that hardworking children, like Rome, are not built in a day.
To finish, What Are there practical ways to instill a biblical work ethic in our children? Word together comes to mind. We are a family; we live, eat, work, play and worship together. We serve ourselves. Working together is great “time together”. We have our little ones by our side when we do the dishes, take care of the garden and clean the house. We teach them as we go.
At first it takes longer, because they are learning. Don’t expect perfection, but expect effort and gradual improvement. If and when our children show the slightest hint of defiance or disobedience, address them immediately. This is fundamental in teaching children to work. And it is fundamental to life itself.
“We are family; we live, eat, work, play and worship together. Working together is great ‘together time’.”
Soon the children contribute to the well-being of the family. When they’re little, praise them and celebrate success, so they develop a positive attitude at work. As they grow, continue to show age-appropriate affirmation and appreciation.
From my years of teaching and mothering, there are a handful of lessons and principles that I would like to make sure our children learn. Many of them can take years to teach them!
- Teach them values as you teach them to work, such as honesty, purity, and humility (to name a few).
- They must take responsibility for their space and their belongings; order and organization make life much less stressful.
- Encourage persistence so they can tackle a multi-step task confidently without getting overwhelmed.
- Give them boring, repetitive tasks, because that’s part of life.
- Define aims. Imagine the end product – a clean room, a repaired toaster or a delicious meal.
- Provide them with a variety of experiences in different fields – mechanics, science, gardening, art – so they can learn life skills and find their talents. Teach them to love learning.
- Instill the confidence to overcome obstacles. Teach them that failure can be used for good as they learn from their mistakes. Encourage them by saying, “You can do it! Celebrate successes.
- Feed the enthusiasm to start a new project or build something. Then make sure they finish.
- Pay them for part of their work (except expected family work). Then teach them how to tithe, save, and spend their money, so they understand, “No effort equals no pay. Extra effort equals extra pay.
- Offer the joy of service – to give to others without expecting a reward, to help someone in need.
Finally, the work of salvation is a type of work that neither parents nor children can do. But the good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ died for sinners like us, so that we can be saved. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work faith and repentance in all of our lives, whether for the first time or again. Then we can really appreciate our work. We will see it as a gift from God. We get great joy from glorifying Him. And in due time, we and our children can enjoy the fruit of our labors and rest with peace in our hearts.