How many times have we met or know of people who are slovenly, lazy, or who do not work hard? For these people it shows in their homes as well as in the lives they lead. My father has always been a hard working man. He was raised on a 2,000 acre ranch which always had hard work in the natural elements, and everyone had responsibilities that could not be shirked. He has a strong work ethic that he instilled in each of his four daughters. We worked hard growing up and it is safe to say that as adult women, mothers, and homemakers we work hard today.
Theodore Roosevelt in his powerful and motivating speech "The Strenuous Life" (April 1899 The Hamilton Club, Chicago) wrote the following:
"I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph. A life of slothful ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual."
What is your opinion of someone who is always striving to escape from work? It can be infuriating to someone who works hard with an honest effort. The natural man has a tendency to be lazy. Our main goal here on earth is to overcome the natural "man".
"A mere life of ease is not in the end a very satisfactory life, and, above all, it is a life which ultimately unfits those who follow it for serious work in the world."
There is nothing that feels better than working hard on a job such as cleaning and organizing the home, cooking meals, and doing the dishes. At the end of the day your muscles have been worked, your hands have served, your family is healthy, and you can see the visual results of your labor in the home. You can sit back and feel satisfied that all is well. It feels good to work hard and rest knowing that it is deserved.
"A man can be freed from the necessity of work only by the fact that he or his fathers before him have worked to good purpose."
Teaching our children this principle will make them great men and women, ready to face the adult life of toil and stress. They will be self motivators by the time they are adults when children are taught a good work ethic.
All children should work, and work with full effort. When it is play time, they will enjoy it! Children who are bored have not worked hard enough. Children who are selfish have not worked hard enough to enjoy the belongings that are given to them. They do not spend enough time cleaning up or caring for their belongings.
"...a healthy state can exist only when the men and women who make it up lead clean, vigorous, healthy lives; when the children are so trained that they shall endeavor, not to shirk difficulties, but to overcome them; not to seek ease, but to know how to wrest triumph from toil and risk. The man must be glad to do a man's work, to dare and endure and to labor; to keep himself, and to keep those dependent upon him. The woman must be the housewife, the helpmeet of the homemaker, the wise and fearless mother of many healthy children."
Several of my children have Sensory Integration Disorder. One of the therapies they were given was to make sure that they move around a lot and carry heavy things to put pressure on their joints. Things such as taking out the trash, carrying laundry hampers to a room to fold laundry, sweeping, and mopping are suggested means of "therapy". One's physical health depends on work - including the children's!
Some parents shy away from giving children more than a few responsibilities each day for several reasons:
1) Giving up full control to a child to do the responsibility is scary, difficult, and can be messy. Things such as learning to cook, doing laundry, mopping a floor will not always be done perfect or neatly, but as time and practice is allowed the child will progress and become good at it. If the child makes a mess when learning a new skill, make him or her clean it up. If the child is learning to cook and it turns out terrible, eat it with a smile and lots of tolerance and patience. I can't tell you how many burned, over salted, watery meals or flat cornbread I've choked down over the past year, but I've done it with a smile. Simply remind them to learn from their mistakes and try again!
2) It takes too long to let the child do it. In less than half of the time it takes for the child to clean up a spill, go back and wipe it again because it is sticky, you could have done it better. That is exactly it. You've had the practice. You are now the teacher. Allow your child to perfect his skills in the home with a loving, tender teacher overlooking. This is better in comparison to someone in the outside world trying to teach an adult these skills with little patience.
3) The thought, "Children should play not work"; this is the mindset of many today. I do not agree. I worked hard in my youth and was prepared for my life as an adult. Now is the time to teach your future adult. We have but a short time to do so. Your child will always be grateful to you for it.
Working hard ourselves and teaching your family to work and then play is the way to a cleaner, healthier, and happier life. We will have more free time. We will feel confident. We will not be ashamed of our homes. Most importantly, we will be proud of our family and their contribution to their future homes and to the world.
Shiloah Baker is a mother of seven children and homemaker who resides in North Carolina. She is the owner of Homemaking Cottage & Co., a website which offers homemaking related articles, books, eBooks, ideas, other homemaking related materials, and a subscription service. For more information go to: http://www.homemaking-cottage.com
or her blog at http://homemakingcottageblog.blogspot.com to learn how she raises seven children and runs a business at home.