Hard Work (1 of 2) | Devotions with Dad

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Hard Work (1 of 2)

For DAD Only:

Teaching Kids to Work

I have seen my kids go outside, build a tree fort, and dig a small pond—all in half the time it took them to vacuum the living room.  There is no question that kids have the ability to work.  How well they work, however, depends on how we give them jobs to do.  Most of us give up saying, “I gave them a job to do, but I don’t know why they work so slow and sloppy.”  Ah, we have encountered slothfulness.
A slothful person doesn’t care.  Most children today are raised to be slothful.  They don’t care about the trash that must be dumped; they have to beat the next level on their PSP.  Who cares that dad is building a deck out back; I’ve got a new game on my Xbox.

I want my kids to care. If they care, they will make it in life.  That’s what makes you a good dad, by-the-way.  You care.  Most dads don’t care.  That’s what has kept you at the same job for the last umpteen years, you care.  That’s why your family has a warm home and a full fridge, you care.  But that legacy will end with you, Dad, if your children don’t learn to care.
My kids learn to care about work because they see me tackle a project with gusto.  When my oldest son could barely walk, he would see me take out the trash and think it looked like a great activity.  I let him “help” by putting his hands under the bag as I hauled it out.  Then I bragged on him about getting to help do daddy’s job.  He’s watched me split firewood since infancy.  Now that his birthdays have entered the double digits, he felt like he might be man enough to share this dad-job.  Recently, he picked up my spare splitting maul, set a log on the chopping block, and took a good swing at it.
“Wow, that’s hard to do,” he said, as the iron head stopped with a thud on the oak.
“Don’t worry,” I told him, “your muscles will get bigger and one day you will be able to do this, too.”  Now that he’s fourteen, he tries to split the wood before I do.
Some people think this reverse psychology is just a gimmick.  Maybe it is.  But when my son begs me to let him mow the law, I have to like this gimmick (okay, maybe the new riding mower is just a gimmick too, but… whatever works).

I must teach my kids to work. I realize that just modeling good work behavior won’t motivate my kids to go to great efforts at providing for their families someday.  I must command them to work.  Many parents whine, “My kids just won’t do anything.”  But do you tell them to, or do you just moan and complain about what you have to do because they don’t?
We must be clear about what we want the children to do, they are too young to figure it out on their own.  Don’t let images of child slave labor pop into your head, but don’t fear challenging your kids either.  My little girl pushes her way in to helps wish dishes.  My younger boy hauls the trash to the dumpster and gets the mail.

I must motivate them to work. The same thing that motivates you to work also motivates your child: a paycheck.  But I don’t recommend paying cash to a child for each job he does.  My wife and I award our children with freezer pops, snacks, or special activities for certain challenging jobs.  Some people feel you shouldn’t bribe your children.  But tell me, is it wrong for you to go to work each day for your weekly bribe?
Exercise caution in this area because you may develop a child who only works in exchange for reward.  Parents must balance their approach depending on the child they deal with.  A child that slacks when he or she should be working loses privileges in my house.  A child that does a job without being told gets extra reward.

Begin with the end in mind. What kind of worker do you want to raise?  One who watches the clock and grumbles about the boss?  Or one who puts in overtime and expands his job description?  We must follow God’s wisdom to develop this character quality in our kids.

Do your future grandkids a favor, teach your child to work.
________________________
Dad, read this story with your kids:

A Job to Do

“We’re going to a birthday party!” Misty called out as she and Rusty followed Mom into the house.
“Shoshanna is nine today!” Rusty answered.
“She is going to be so surprised when she sees us there!”
Mom asked, “It’s a surprise birthday party?”
“Yes,” Misty said, plopping her backpack down beside the couch.  “We all have to get to the restaurant early so we can hide in the party room.  Then when she opens the door—”
“Surprise!” Rusty shouted.
“That sounds fun,” Mom said.  “Aren’t the Johnsons coming to pick you up for that?”
“Yes,” Rusty said, “at five o’clock.”
“Okay, but you know what you have to do, right?”
“Get our chores done and clean our rooms,” Rusty replied.
“Oh, I’m tired,” Misty said as she kicked off her shoes behind the couch.
“Well, you know if your work isn’t done, you don’t get to go, guys.”
“Okay, but it’s going to be a while before they get here. “  Misty dropped her coat on the floor as she followed her mom into the kitchen, “Can I have an apple first?”
“I suppose, but while you are in here you can unload the dishwasher and put away the clean dishes.”
“It’s my turn?  I thought Rusty had to do that today.”
“Look at the list,” Mom said, pointing to the paper on the closet door.  “Today, he sweeps the floor and takes out the trash.”
“Uggh!  I think I need a nap.”
“Misty, don’t complain or I will find more for you to do.”
“Okay, Mom.”  Misty sat down at the table while her mom cooked something on the stovetop and reorganized the fridge. 
After she ate, Misty got up and said, “Well, I’m going to go to my room.”
Mom looked at the table and said, “Please throw away your apple core.”
“Oh, yeah.”
“And I thought you were going to put away the dishes while you were in here.”
“Oh, well, I thought I had better work on my room first.  I’ll come back.”
“Okay, Misty, but remember, you don’t have a lot of time before the Johnson’s get here.”
Misty sighed.  “I know.”  She went to her room and looked at the mess on the floor.
“How will I ever clean this?” she said to herself.  “There is just so much stuff!”  She stuck her head out into the hallway and yelled, “MOM!”
Mom peeked her head out of the kitchen doorway.  “Yes, Misty?”
“Can you help me?”
“Well, Misty, who made the mess?”
“I did.”
“Then you can clean it up.”
“But, Mom.  I didn’t make it all at once.”
“I know, and you shouldn’t go so long next time without cleaning it.”  Mom glanced around the living room.  “And you’ve already started to make a mess in here.  Come pick up your coat and stuff, Misty.”
Misty got her stuff out of the living room and went back to her bedroom.  She plopped her stuff down by the door and began picking things up off the floor.  “Here’s my stuffed cat,” she said to herself.  “Here you go Whiskers, back on the shelf.”
Next, she picked up a coloring page off the floor.  “Oh, look, I did this with my glitter crayons.  Where are my glitter crayons?”  She looked around the room and checked her toy bin.  No crayons.  She looked inside her travel desk.  They weren’t there either.  Misty got up and walked down the hall to Rusty’s room where she could hear him thumping around and moving things.
“Rusty?” she said to the closed door.
He opened the door.  “Yeah?”  He wiped perspiration from his forehead.
“Have you seen my glitter crayons?”
“Huh-uh.  Have you looked all over in your room?”
“Yeah.”
“Is it all clean?”
Misty shrugged, “Not yet.”
“The Johnsons are—”
“I know the Johnsons are coming at five.  Does everyone have to keep saying that?  I’ll be ready.”  Misty turned and went back to the mess in her room.
She picked up a couple more dolls.
She picked up a storybook and put it on the shelf.
She found one of her favorite socks, but couldn’t find the other one.  She put the sock on the bed and picked up her pillow from the floor.
Underneath the pillow she saw her box of glitter crayons.  “Hey, here you guys are!”  She looked through the box.  “Where’s the purple?”  She looked around the room but didn’t see the purple glitter crayon.
She left her room and went to her brother’s doorway again.  “Rusty?”   He had left the door open, but she could not see him.  “Rusty?”
“Uh-huh,” he grunted from under the bed.
“What are you doing under there?”
“Cleeeaning,” he groaned.
“Well, I found my crayons, but the purple one is missing.”
The edge of the blanket wiggled a little and suddenly Rusty popped his head out from under it.  “What?”
She repeated her request and told him all about how much the purple glitter crayon meant to her.

*       *       *

“The Johnson’s are here,” Mom called from the kitchen.
Rusty had finished sweeping the floor and hauling out the trash.  He had just washed up and changed his clothes.  “Okay, Mom.  I’ll get my coat.”
Misty came out of her room.  “Can I go Mom?”
“Did you put the dishes away?”
“Not yet, but I’ll do it when I get home.”
Mom came down the hall as Rusty raced outside to greet the folks from the church.  She walked up to Misty.  “Hmmm.  I don’t know, honey, you should have done it already.  What does your room look like?”
“It’s pretty good,” Misty said as she stepped back to let her mom in.
Mom looked around.  “Well, it’s not the best, but it looks a lot better than it did…”  Mom reached down to pick up a skirt that was sticking out from under the bed.  When she pulled it out, two toys and a coloring book slid out with it.  Mom kneeled down and looked under the bed.  “Misty, there is a whole bunch of junk here.”
“Can I clean it later?”
“You were supposed to clean your room.Not shove it under the bed.”
“I know, but… but…”
Mom shook out the skirt.  “And this is clean, it should be hung up.”  Mom opened the closet door and a bunch of stuff tumbled out onto the floor.  “Misty!”

*       *       *

The kids had huddled around each other in the dark party room.  They shhhhhed each other and whispered and giggled.  Suddenly, the adults told them Shoshanna was coming, “Get ready.”
The birthday girl’s friends stopped breathing for a moment.  Suddenly, the door to the party room opened and Shoshanna stood there talking to her parents.  She turned to enter and jumped as the light flashed on and all the kids yelled, “SURPRISE!”
Shoshanna stood there with her mouth hanging open and her brown eyes soaking in the whole scene.  Rusty and the other kids were wild for a few minutes blowing on their party trumpets and laughing.
After a while the adults calmed them down and had everyone sit down.  They waited patiently for the cake and ice cream.
Another girl came to the doorway.  Shoshanna jumped down from her chair and ran to hug her new guest. “Misty!”
Misty’s eyes looked red as if she had been crying.  She looked around the room.  “Was it a good surprise?”
“It was awesome!”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t come.  I was at home learning a good lesson.  I had to clean my room before I came.  Dad brought me when I was done.”
“I’m glad you came!” the birthday girl said.  “O look, here comes my cake!  You can help me blow out the candles.”
________________________

What did we learn from this story?

What could Misty learn from Proverbs 14:23?

What kept her from getting to the party on time?

What did Rusty do right in this story?  How do we know he knows how to work well?

What should Misty have done differently?

How does God feel about hard work?

________________________

Read the following passages with the family:

Losers Are Lazy

Proverbs 6:6-11

You lazy fool, look at an ant.
Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.
All summer it stores up food;
at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent houseguest!

19:24

Some people dig a fork into the pie
but are too lazy to raise it to their mouth.

21:25-26

Lazy people finally die of hunger
because they won’t get up and go to work.
Sinners are always wanting what they don’t have;
the God-loyal are always giving what they do have.

24:30-34

One day I walked by the field of an old lazybones,
and then passed the vineyard of a lout;
They were overgrown with weeds,
thick with thistles, all the fences broken down.
I took a long look and pondered what I saw;
the fields preached me a sermon and I listened:
“A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
with poverty as your permanent houseguest!”

Ecclesiastes 10:18

A shiftless man lives in a tumbledown shack;
A lazy woman ends up with a leaky roof.

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

________________________
How does this relate?

Why does the book of Proverbs tell us to study the ant?

If we laze around in life, what can we look forward to?

Do sluggards really refuse to put food in their mouths, or is this a metaphor for something bigger?

What did the writer of Proverbs learn by going past the lazy person’s dwelling?  What can we learn from observing people who refuse to work or depend on others to provide for them?

What kind of life will lethargic people have?

________________________

Memory Verse:

Proverbs 14:23

In all labour there is profit:

but the talk of the lips

tendeth only to penury.

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