SOUCHERAY: Parents — this falls on youThis is the third in a series of columns examining work ethic.
By: Kate Soucheray, Woodbury Bulletin
This is the third in a series of columns examining work ethic.
A good work ethic, as we have seen, involves many elements of the old-fashioned values. These would include being on time, dedicating ourselves completely to the job when we are at work and being an honest employee.
These qualities may seem to be self-evident, but apparently they are not to most managers and business owners. These managers and owners may have assumed that their employees would simply arrive at work, intuitively knowing how to carry out these tasks.
However, we don’t need to tell them we are living in a new era, one that apparently does not have not clearly defined what the work ethic is and how to fulfill it on the job. There will be lots of people who could tell us that their workers do not know how to acclimate themselves to a good work ethic, but they may not be able to tell us what to do about it.
So here it is. A good work ethic begins at home with simple chores and expectations of good behavior and good citizenship. A child must know he or she is part of a cohesive group and that their active and generous participation is expected and required of them in order for the family to be successful. The children must learn that the world does not revolve around them and their needs and that they have a job to be part of the whole and the expectation to contribute to it.
As I write this, I can picture grandparents nodding and asking, “Yes, how could it be otherwise?”
As if doing it any other way would be inconceivable. Because for them, it would be unimaginable to raise kids who erroneously believed they had the right to captivate the entire family with their moods or demands. It simply would not have been tolerated. Period.
It also could not have been tolerated because the family had so much work to do that to have one child, or more, who believed they were the center of attention and controlled the family with their behavior could not and would not have even been acceptable.
Times were different then. The neighborhood was a place of support and friendship. Life was not so busy. The rules and expectations were clearer. People just knew what was right and they did it.
So how do we get back to that era?
To begin with, a family should have a few rules. We don’t have to go overboard. In fact, having too many rules is often counterproductive because the kids will see that we can’t possibly enforce them all and they will watch us trip ourselves up. So keep the list short and sweet. And if you can have the list of rules revolve around your values, so much the better.
Next, create some time for the kids. I know this is hard when parents are working. And the reality is parents have to work in order to keep up the lifestyle we have created. But we should ask ourselves if we can step back from the job just a bit.
Perhaps you can leave work early one day per week. Or go in a little later or work from home one day. Whatever you can do to create a little more time for the kids would be a good beginning point.
Then, from your list of values, create three or four rules that are in sync with what you believe is most important in life. In addition, create a chore list and insist that each child, no matter the age, has a job they are expected to fulfill to the best of their ability.
There should also be expectations of each family member that are simply expected, such as: clear your plate from the table after you have eaten; if you see something that needs to be done, do it; make your bed every morning; leave the space better than you found it; pick up all your outside toys before coming in for the night. Those sorts of things. The things that were expected in a former era and taken so much for granted that no one even thought they had to be stated.
When we have expectations of our children that they be part of the whole, rather than take center stage and control the family through their antics and misbehavior, we set up the mechanism for them to have a good work ethic, both at home, at school and in their future employment.