Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Learning Frugalness - Teaching Kids to Work

I love seeing kids work! It's good for kids to learn to work and to work hard with a good attitude. For more home front help - check out my new series on Becoming an On-Purpose Home Keeper here.

I wonder how many parents teach good work ethics to their children or grandchildren. I don't they many do because sometimes it's more effort to teach the child to work than it is to do the work yourself, and yet, in the long run, it's more destructive to the character of the child to be lazy.

I remember one day, I put these boys to work outside. I gave them gloves (too big because they were Michael's), some rakes, dust pans and little sweepers. I put them to work cleaning leaves and stickers out of some hedges.

These two boys never complained so much in their lives. It was as if I were abusing them or something. They complained they were hot. They complained they were sweaty (and, indeed they were). They complained they were hungry and I'm sure they were, but in my thinking, we eat after work is done. So, I told the boys that they wouldn't eat until their work was done - completely.

See, I knew they could do it. I knew that when the work was done, these two boys would have a sense of satisfaction. I also know that God says (in Genesis) that men should sweat. It says that a man will earn his living by the sweat of his brow. Since it says that I thought, it's good for these little men to sweat. I'm really a very nice Nana :-).


My grandfather, August Zentgraf, immigrated from Germany, May 18, 1928. He came to this country with about $21 in his pocket, a feather bed and a steamer trunk. With the odds of an immigrant (language/culture/no family) he made it. He worked very hard at his trade as a tool and dye maker. When there was no work there, he found work.

He worked as a gun smith and kitchen helper. In NYC he was employed at Singer sewing machine company and eventually he retired from Huges Aircraft in Tucson, AZ.

My grandfather, who I miss horribly, left some big shoes not only for me to fill (and I'm doing it) but for my five grandchildren to fill.

His legacy was: work hard, don't have fox tails (extra stuff), live a simple life, don't use credit, be a spend thrift, save, save, save, be thankful and take care of your family.

Family was so very important to him. During the time he lived with Michael and I, I sat with him and typed out his life story. It's amazing. I learned so many things I never knew. One day, I'll publish it.

Anyway, after my two grandsons completed their assigned sweat labor - guess what? I've never seen two little guys eat so quietly and be so thankful for PB&J. I still can remember them talking about how good their sandwich tasted.

One of my greatest recommendations to moms - besides this book is to teach your kids to work, teach your kids about sanctuary and teach them about respect. Also, don't let your kids watch TV unless they are working.

Here's a great example of what that looks like. If they start to bicker - hand them a broom and send them to the patio and don't allow them to return until it's swept clean. Guess why this little guy has a whisk broom?

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5 comments:

Abbi said...

I totally agree! I wrote a post about that this summer. I am careful to make sure that our kids are learning to work hard but also cheerfully!

BarbaraLee said...

I like your training. I 4 children. My oldest is married w/3. I have put these values into my children also. Hopefully it will be done w/out the sour faces off & on.
Kids just don't know what work is. We have our own business and it is hard finding help. My oldest son (19) could be a little better in his work ethics but is a lot better then most. I have the kids trained when they are done or just come up to me and ask if there is anything I want them to do before they do their own thing. I just wish I could get them to be more cheerful about it w/pride. They like doing a good job b/c I make them do it over if they don't but there is just something missing.

Mrs Flam said...

My Gram Used to Put me to work during the fall rakeing leaves i was only supposed to do the front yard , but somehow it made me feel important , so i latter went on to do the side yards , the back yards even the back feilds.

Latter when i was an adult i would visit my friend's parent's homes , and would rake their yards (I lived in an apartment and had no yard to rake)

I find that my gram taught me to work and i am so thankfull , because every time I do something I think of my gram , and am filled with love for how she raised me.

Lylah said...

hi there mrs. flam. i love your story! thanks for sharing it here :-) in a crazy way..i enjoy raking too :-)

Danielle said...

I love this! I love the idea of making them work while watching TV, or making them work if they start to bicker, which happens a LOT at my house! My husband was also an immigrant to this country when he married me 7 years ago. :) He had to work hard when he was a little boy, and to this day he is a very hard worker which has led to success in his job, which in turn is a blessing to our family. haha my daughter just got done vacuuming as I was typing this and said, "Mommy I think I'm working harder than you." LOL!