Friday, December 14, 2012

Teaching your children work and responsibility

Punch newspaper, in Nigeria, recently published an article by Leke Alder the brand strategy consultant, on Nigeria's yahoo-yahoo boy image which is killing her economy. Young vibrant youths who want to drive flashy cars and live in expensive homes over night. Don't forget those arrested at various borders around the world for drug smuggling. These people did not drop from the sky so we parents have to ask ourselves what we are really teaching our children about hard work.

Over-indulgence, Dr. Phil once said, is one of the most insidious forms of child abuse.

I get so frightened by the obvious hazards standing in the way of us teaching our children the value of hard work, its not uncommon to hear certain peer groups to sight Kim Kardashian as a role model.

Children seem to have so many external images telling them their worth is determined by what they own and they define their happiness and their status in the world as a function of what they wear. Having nice things is not bad but they must understand that they must work hard in order to acquiring such things. They should be driven by a sense of personal pride and accomplishment.

Many of the lessons we learn in life start in the home. Work ethic is not part of the national school curriculum. Some parents feel they had to work too hard when they were growing up and that they suffered. They make up their minds that their children won't feel the same way, so they do not require their children to work hard.

I feel there is a real challenge to get children of today to learn the joy of work and feel responsible toward the family and their futures. Each family’s situation is different, but children can learn to enjoy work and take responsibility in many ways. This is your responsibility as a parent, to prepare your child for how the world really works. In the real world, you don't always get what you want. You have to work hard to be the best at what you do and that ensures success. The primary place of education is the home. Children will be better able to deal with situations as an adult if they've experienced them as a child.

We should start by teaching children to pick up after themselves and to care for their things. As they grow into teens, if they want an expensive gadget we can find ways that they can work for it, (vacation jobs are a great way to do this) as they grow we should show them that their responsibilities are growing also. Children need to learn to be self-reliant. They need to develop positive attitudes towards work and learn the lessons that work teaches. Be careful what you are teaching them, to teach our children to work successfully, we must be enthusiastic about our own work. As President Brigham Young stated, “Each one will find that happiness in this world mainly depends on the work he does, and the way in which he does it”

We need to redefine what taking care of our children means. Are you providing for them emotionally and spiritually? Spending quality time sharing stories or just talking and finding out what is really going on in that young mind is a great time to pluck out the weeds and plant seeds of wisdom. Sit down with them and have a one-on-one conversation about what really defines their worth " their intelligence, their purpose and their relationship with God. Children often feel that doing their best is impossible. Tell them they can do anything they put their minds to. We need to teach them that opportunity is often disguised as hard work.

Ijeoma Olujekun

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