Thursday, April 10, 2014

Raising Sons: The Value of Work

As a mom of soon-to-be nine children, including five energetic sons, I am always thinking about ways they can improve on their character, let's face it, our children need guidance and direction and we are whom God has provided to oversee this ever-important area in their lives.  One of the areas I am convinced that every boy needs is to learn the value or work. I believe it refines their character and builds them into the men they need to learn to become one day. I am always on the lookout for new jobs for them to do around the home and yard. I like this quote I read earlier this morning:

"In the education of boys today we've lost the importance of work as a most effective tutor. What is the good of knowing how to read or write if a young man doesn't have the heart to work, to produce, and to create? Boys are often forced to sit for hours, year after year, in front of books.

Modern child-labor laws hinder and even prevent them learning to enjoy strenuous work. Then, after twelve to sixteen years of inactivity, folks wonder why all their teenager wants to do is sit on the couch playing games.

A boy who loves to work will master math when its needed. He'll put out the effort to read what's important. In the meantime, his interaction with things that are "actual and practical" will provide the wisdom he needs to direct him into useful pursuits, and empower him to provide for a family of his own in days to come.

Within every man is the desire to work and produce. Some men don't even know that it's there. However, when necessity or some pressing authority pushes him into a useful position of employment his sense of work comes alive. I've employed many lazy boys who couldn't imagine work as something other than a necessary evil required to gain money for a toy. However, given time and proper instruction, they lazy lads have turned into dynamos working for the simple pleasure of work, disregarding the hardships and the pay."

Raising sons can be a challenge, but I personally enjoy how different they are from my girls. Often times I think about how easy it is to care for them, just feed them and just send them outside! But honestly though, working on their character and helping them to grow in their spiritual walk with our Savior is so important and a key priority that we all need to be steadfast about and keep in front of us.

How do you teach your sons to work?

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  1. What a great post! My boys always work, from the time that they are able -- not just with common household tasks. My 9 year old son push-mows his grandmothers yard, raises chicken with his 6 year old sister and sells the eggs, and helps with larger tasks such as splitting, stacking, and hauling wood for our wood-burning furnace. My 13 year old mows lawns and does other various yard tasks, handles basic repair and maintenance tasks (he and I just replaced the battery in the riding lawnmower), and works with his father 1 day a week. My 15 year old is a very hard worker and very responsible. He does whatever needs to be done without complaint. He splits and stacks wood in the winter, feeds the wood-burning furnace, does his grandmother's lawn work, is taking over the paperwork for our family's business, and makes himself available for any job that comes his way. I want to raise boys that are used to hard work, whatever may come in their life. I encourage them to think outside of the box and to be eager to step in whenever anyone needs assistance. They already have a reputation for hard work and have been asked by elderly couples in our church to do various odd jobs. Thank you for your post. Seeing so many lazy young men who have never had to lift their fingers to do anything other than fill the dishwasher and take out trash truly grieves me. I think it is paramount to our nation's epidemic of self-centered youth and young adults.

  2. what a good post, It would be great if someone could post some practical examples of "work" they have their sons do and what ages etc!

  3. We homeschooled our son all the way through to graduation. My life goal from college was to follow a quote I heard at a college conference - "A successful parent is one who becomes increasingly unnecessary in the lives of their children." The goal here was to raise your children to be independent, responsible adults to leave the nest and impact the world. One of the areas that training needed to include was in becoming a man willing and ready for work. Also remember the concept of a work is realizing if you want something you need to be the one to do what it takes to get it or achieve it. One must never expect others to provide everything for you just because.

    We used Konos curriculum in elementary grades, and one unit we dipped candles as a project. I was preparing for a craft sale so I thought it might be cool to let AJ (our son) earn some money so he spent an afternoon making candles to sell at the craft sale. He was probably seven at the time. He had to set up his section of the table with his candles and make signs with the price. He was also learning to use the calculator. He was responsible for manning his products throughout the 2 1/2 days of the sale. He made close to $20 and was so proud and pleased with the results.

    When AJ was 9 he really wanted a Ninendo system. As parents we had decided we were not going to give electronic toys to him, but rather toys like blocks, Legos, army men, etc, that required him to use his imagination to play with. So we let him know that he would likely not receive the Ninendo from us. So he appealed to his grandmother and she insisted we buy one and that it was from here. Thus he got his wish. Now came the expectation that if he wanted new games mom and dad would provide the funds to buy them. Not! Instead, because of a recent move and having not done a lot of school in a couple of months, I set up a chart that focused on getting back into our school routine, chores and yes even a focus on right attitude. If he achieved the goals set out in the chart system he would earn money to apply to a new game. We used this chart system for about 6 months. We not only achieved the goals I set out for getting back into our routines, but AJ had earned 3 or 4 new games. It wasn't but a few months after that, that he grew bored with the Ninendo altogether. He ended up gifting it to some friends.

    My husband worked for Frito Lay as a route salesman. On Saturdays when he had to work he would sometimes take AJ with him on the route and let him help him stock the shelves. This taught AJ through hands on and in observing his dad first hand. The nature of route sales is feast and famine - summer months were the feast and winter the famine sales wise. When AJ was in high school he learned that mom and dad just didn't always have money for everything he wanted to do or have. So I found out about a possible job for him across the street at a men's store and at the time AJ like to dress snazzy. So I told him to go apply as soon as he turned 16. He did and that was the best first job he could have had. His boss was great in training him and advising him in work in general.

    AJ is now married with one precious baby girl. He loves to work especially if the job is dirty! He works with a small remodeling company in KY, and was just promoted to sergeant in the National Guard. He does the sound at his church. The key to instilling a good work ethic in our children especially in our boys is finding opportunities no matter how big or small for them to spread their wings and try new things and find the satisfaction that comes in a job well done.

  4. Thanks to all of you who commented and for the post. This has been wonderful advice and most of all a needed reminder.


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