I took the youngest five children (Fletcher, Greyden, Hewitt, Indigo, and Jade) food shopping with me the other day. I pushed a cart, Greyden pushed a cart, Hewitt pushed the “car” cart holding the girls, and Fletcher walked on his crutches. I sent Greyden and Fletcher off to fill their cart with cereal, oatmeal, and other staples while the rest of us got all the fruits and veggies.
When we convened at the checkout aisle, the children started unloading the carts. Once the first one was filled with bagged groceries, I sent the oldest three out to start transferring it all to the Hulk, where Jim was waiting. Meanwhile, Jade and Indigo kept unloading the carts. The checkout guy (older teenager) looked at the girls and said to me, “They’re too young to be working.”
I looked at him and replied with a smile, “They’re more capable than you would think.”
But it got me thinking.
Is that really how most Americans think? Are we really that unusual?
We teach our children to work hard and don’t use work as a punishment. To us work is not something that magically starts when you hit a certain age. It’s not something that is just for adults. It is something that all children need to be taught. If children don’t learn to work and work hard, they can easily become teenagers (and adults) who are always trying to avoid work and expecting other people to do the work for them.
Oprah Winfrey once said, “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”
We’re teaching the children to believe that they can do anything and that hard work will help them achieve their dreams and goals. They realize that very few people are handed success and lots of money, and those who are (such as lottery winners) often lose everything that they were given. There are very few shortcuts to success.
I have a Thomas Jefferson quote on the wall in my office. It says, “I am a great believer in luck. And I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” We actively teach this mentality to our children. After all, the tagline for Goat Milk Stuff is ”Work hard. Get dirty. Use good soap.” That’s our life.
What about you? What are your thoughts on hard work? Something to be embraced or avoided?