Raising Hard-Working Kids in a Lazy Society

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The lack of work ethic in today’s society is pathetic. So many people have a belief that they deserve so much without any effort. You finish college so you must deserve a high paying job where everyone kisses your butt and you really don’t have to work for your pay, right?

Not to mention the fact that everywhere I look there are people who sit on their butts and do nothing but watch television or play video games. Unemployment rates are the highest they have been in years and although many people legitimately cannot get work because of the economy and there are no jobs in the areas they live in, there are literally thousands of people who find it easier to be on unemployment then to take a job that is “beneath” them. Seriously, when you are unemployed do you really have a right to say that any job is beneath you? I think NO!

I don’t understand this kind of thinking. What are we teaching our children–it is better to live off of the government then to go work at the grocery store or gas station? I am sorry but I come from a family that works hard and works at everything. Money does not grow on trees and you don’t just accept money from the government, you work for it.  Of course there are exceptions and there are people who are honestly trying to get a job and applying everywhere and anywhere and will gladly work at for any employer that will accept their application. Those people should have no shame in accepting unemployment. It is those that refuse to apply for a job at the gas station that is hiring because they think they deserve better. Maybe they do, but they should not be so self-righteous. Any job is better than no job and you can always be looking for the right job when you are employed in the wrong job. No one says you have to stay in the unwanted job forever. Sometimes the wrong job is just a means to make money and get you by until the right job comes along.

The problem I see with staying on unemployment when there are employers willing to hire you, and sitting on your butt watching television and playing video games non stop is our children. What are we teaching them? Do we really want to raise an even lazier future generation than the generation of people we are seeing today.  A generation that believes they deserve anything and everything they want without actually having to earn it? Children learn by example and the examples these children today are seeing are extremely lazy and disappointing.

I am not going to just sit by and let my children grow up to be this way.

Just today the sun was shining and our kids were outside playing and enjoying the day while my husband and I worked vigorously in the yard cleaning up from this long winter. An hour or two went by with the kids playing, as they should be, and then a conversation started up amongst our two older boys who were wanting to go see a movie this weekend and also do a little shopping. Both boys had saved a little money but not enough to do everything they were wanting to do. In order to ensure that they had enough money for the desired activities they started in on how they could get more money without having to work or do anything to actually earn it.

As I continued pulling weeds and cleaning up the flower beds I began listening to their ideas. At first they thought that they could convince their father and myself that we owed them money, which of course we did not. For some reason they thought they were smarter than us and that they could actually convince us we were mistaken. They failed.

After more thought they asked if they could help us for five minutes and earn $10 each. Ha, ha, ha, I don’t think so. I had not been working my tail off for the past couple of hours for free to just give our boys $20 for barely helping. If I am going to pay them to do something, their labor is going to benefit me.

But wait, it gets better…

Next they had the audacity to ask us to pay them for doing the things that are already expected of them, making their beds, brushing their teeth, keeping their belongings picked up. I don’t know about everyone else, but in our house, you do those things because they are the right thing to do, not because you are getting paid for them. Though according to the kids, they have friends that get paid for doing just that. Apparently making your bed and brushing your teeth is worthy of an allowance in some homes.

Unbelievable. We do not give our children an allowance because we believe they are a part of this family and thus they should contribute appropriately, and I certainly would never give an allowance for kids doing things they should be doing anyway. I will, on the other hand, let them earn money by doing things that I need help with or do not want to do. If there is a benefit to me, then I don’t mind paying for it.

After a while of listening to the boys make suggestions for “earning” money we decided that we would pay them for working in the yard with us. We informed them both along with their two younger siblings that we would be willing to pay them each $5 for one solid hour’s work. That did not mean we would pay them for breaks and standing around, it meant when they had each worked a solid hour (which was at our discretion) then they were able to earn $5. There was no negotiating, no working for half and hour and assuming they deserved $2.5o. It was a solid hour for $5. Take it or leave it.

At first, the two older boys though that $5 was “beneath” them and they should be earning more for an hour of work. We then explained that it was not what the job was worth to the employee, but rather what it was what it was worth to the employer. They were not going to be getting money for free and they were not going to get a better offer but it was their choice to accept the job or not. Eventually after considering all the options they came around and decided to work for the money they so badly wanted.

With all four in agreement and ready to work they  began to work alongside us. We were constantly having to remind all of them that their father and I did not get to stand around twiddling our thumbs and expect pay from the companies that employed us. When we are given a job we have to do as we are instructed in order to earn the money that was offered. If we decided to slack off on the job we should expect to be fired not compensated.

At the end of the hour (maybe a little bit longer for those that screwed around in the middle) they were told thank you and that they could expect payment prior to their outing for shopping and movies. Although I think they were expecting cash in hand at that very moment, they seemed to accept our answer. Again it was a great learning lesson for life in that you don’t get paid the moment you finish a job.

Our lesson with our children was really minor in the scope of things but it is just one more step in our parenting and raising hard-working kids in a lazy society. If all parents took a little more time teaching children and not just giving them everything they want without working for it, I believe we would have a better chance in a hard working future generation. At this point I see way too many parents give their children everything they want without having to earn it and thus they expect and assume they deserve it.

Please join with me teach your children the value of working hard. Your future–and your children, eventually–will thank you.

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3 Responses to “Raising Hard-Working Kids in a Lazy Society”

  • Maria Rodriguez:

    Hi Carrie,

    I really enjoy reading your blog and do agree with you that you it’s important to teach your children about hard work. However, I do want to respectfully suggest you also teach your children to respect workers. Many people (day laborers) are underpaid for the difficult physical work of maintaining the yards and homes of the wealthy. While I do respect your desire to teach your children about the value of hard work, I would urge you to also consider teaching your children about fair wages. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25, and many states have a slightly higher minimum wage. (http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm)

    If you really want to teach your children about the realities of working class America, perhaps you could also talk to your kids about how difficult it is to live on a minimum wage salary. Help them to plan a budget for a family of four with two minimum wage incomes. Would they have the money leftover for shopping and a movie, or would that money need to go towards food and health care?

    Thanks for listening!

  • brittany:

    thank you so much for this article. i have a college degree but have been unemployed for 5 months now. i am applying at mcdonalds and such. i have an interview at a gas station tomorrow and i felt kinda crummy about it. but hey its an honest way to make a living! 🙂 ty for making me feel better about myself.

    • Brittany,

      I am glad this post was able to make you feel better about yourself. Times are tough, and with that comes a roller coaster of emotions. I know working at a gas station is not your dream job but you are right, it is an honest way to make a living. Good luck to you tomorrow and just know if you have to take this job for now, something better will come along soon. It’s always easier to find a job when you already have a job. 🙂

      ~Carrie

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