Virtue of the Week: Enterprise

The Farmer and His Sons

A farmer, being at death’s door, and desiring to impart to his sons a secret of much moment, called them round him and said, “My sons, I am shortly about to die. I would have you know, therefore, that in my vineyard there lies a hidden treasure. Dig, and you will find it.” As soon as their father was dead, the sons took spade and fork and turned up the soil of the vineyard over and over again, in their search for the treasure which they supposed to lie buried there. They found none, however: but the vines, after so thorough a digging, produced a crop such as had never before been seen. There is no treasure without toil.

How to Teach Your Kids to Have a Work Ethic

Raising children to have a strong work ethic will benefit them for the rest of their lives. These lessons are more easily learned the younger you start teaching your children how hard work pays off.

  1. Praise children for effort. For example, if your child brings home an “A” on her report card, tell her “I’m so proud of how much you studied”, or “I’m pleased you put so much effort into that class”.
  2. Encourage improvement, especially in areas where your child is skilled. For example, if your child excels in reading, say “You’re doing such a great job on your reading, so I think you’re up to an even better challenge”, and present harder tasks.
  3. Give age-appropriate chores for all family members, and give more difficult and complex chores as your child gets older.
  4. Share stories about how hard work and persistence pays off. These can be fictional stories, stories from your life, or accounts of famous people.
  5. Play games which require delaying gratification. Practicing delayed gratification actually strengthens areas in the brain that govern responsible behavior and decision-making.
  6. Teach children to solve problems themselves by teaching them trouble-shooting techniques, and encouraging them to take the lead. For example, if your child is dealing with a mean classmate, ask questions to prompt your child to think out an appropriate response. Praise your child for coming up with good solutions, and for handling problems independently.
  7. Let children see your work ethic. Explain to them what you do at work, why you do chores, etc.
  8. Give rewards for responsible behavior. For example, a child who easily does her chores without being reminded may be ready to care for a small pet.
  9. Structure your family’s time and teach your child good time-management skills. Use a large calendar, dry-erase board, or magnets to keep track of to-do lists and schedules.
  10. Make sure your child has summer jobs, and contributes towards their own expenses.
  11. Work with your kids–work alongside your children showing, modeling and teaching. For example, when laundry need to be done, sort the clothes with your children, then together fill the washing machine, together put them in the dryer. Then when it’s time to fold, fold the clothes side by side showing how to fold and doing it together.

Link to video about work ethic:

How to Learn and Devolop a Hard Work Ethic