In the previous post, which you can read here, we talked about how what we believe in regards to why and what we were created for impacts our parenting. Today I am going to share what we personally believe and how that impacts the way we parent.
Disclaimer: We are in the trenches and by no means have it all figured out! We are not perfect parents, we screw up a TON! Our children aren’t perfect, I think they are awesome, because they are mine 🙂 but they are children. Thankfully we are recipients of God’s grace.
So what do we believe? We believe that ONE of the reasons we were created was for work. ONE, this post isn’t long enough for me to go into all we believe we were created for, so I am only talking about his one today!
God modeled working six days and taking one Sabbath. We believe we are to follow God’s example. It’s really that simple. When God created Adam, He gave him a job to do… to tend the earth as the gardener and care for the animals… He created Adam and put him to work.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15
We as parents need to realize something… things such as good character, spiritual disciplines (such as prayer), work ethic, leadership, and faith in God are not things that can be simply talked about, and then expected when they are in a predicament where it is needed. In fact, may I be so bold as to point out that if we don’t teach these things we can not assume that they will simply “stumble” upon them?
For example, when a child loses an animal or worse, a parent… if faith is more than introduced, but practiced and lived out daily, the child is much more likely to lean on faith (opposed to leaning on something that isn’t really there in the first place). If a child is taught verbally it is important to work but has not been modeled it, then they won’t know what it truly looks like.
Work is hard that is why it is called work.
Most people have the wrong perspective on work, therefore the wrong attitude. We should want our kids to have the right heart attitude towards work. I believe work was one of the foundational reasons we were created (aside from relationship with God and one another, which is obvious). That is what we teach our children? I am not talking about going to work six days a week, but do we have projects to work on with our kids on those days we aren’t working? It is when we work with our kids, and model a right heart attitude and do it with them regularly that they get it.
Work ethic is a habit… we can’t just do it like visiting a museum and assume our kids get it. Habits are made by doing them regularly… very regularly for a life time.
Many people in our culture say.. “aw, let kids be kids, they will be working soon enough and work their whole life.” Personally, I believe it is that kind of thinking that has gotten our culture and youth of today where it is… entitlement attitude rather than work ethic.
From an eternal perspective we want our children to run the race of the Christian life with perseverance. We don’t want them to give up or grow weary and discouraged in serving Christ because they have never learned what it means to really work. We are to labor for Christ in all we do. Whether a missionary, a pastor, a farmer, a police officer, a doctor, a stay at home mom, or a teacher.
I ask myself this questions a lot (almost daily):
Do I have the work ethic to run the race as hard as Jim Elliot, John Bunyan, Harriet Tubman, or Thomas Edison? Now… am I teaching my children too?
You see, as a mother, I am a missionary, I am raising the next generation, and I feel called to raise leaders. Am I teaching my children to have the work ethic of these great men and women? First of all they had deep faith in the Lord, and that passion and calling on their life compelled them to keep persevering; so that is also CRUCIAL in parenting, but this post is about work ethic.
It is like training for a marathon, if you haven’t trained… you will most likely not make it. While our children are in our home… we provide the training course that prepares them for life.
If work ethic has not been intentionally taught by “working” the true ability to persevere and work hard may not become one of their attributes. Work Ethic is a habit, habits are done regularly, not casually when you feel like it.
As my children and I have taken over working the vineyard full-time.. working hard about 4 hours a day and then working on the house chores, school, and other things… I find they are happier. The have a purpose and they feel needed. Every human on earth needs to feel that… even kids! When we give them respect by believing they can do something, and then praise them and reward them when they do… they feel like they are contributing. In my opinion, this is one of the most important lessons to teach children, to make a contribution to this world. So as they grow into the persons God wants them to be, finding out their personal callings, they are currently learning the foundational characters attributes to accomplish those callings… such as work ethic, responsibility and perseverance.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” Col. 3:23
These are the things I am evaluating and praying about as a parent. I know one thing for sure. I refuse to let my children become “cookie cutter kids”. I want them to live on purpose, because when living on purpose in obedience to His call, regardless of what you have or what you do… you have more than enough, you are joy-filled.
God’s Blessings on You as you raise yours for His Glory and Purposes,