Hidden Nuggets Series #41 – “Therefore, I urge you to imitate me.” I Corinthians 4:16
The messages this week at Luke1428 have all centered around the benefits, both financial and emotional, that children can receive from doing work. My wife and I have been teaching our children that labor leads to profit and that if they don’t work they won’t get paid. Those are big messages and the sooner they learn them the better.
Have you ever wondered how a solid work ethic gets ingrained in a child? Is it something they are born with? Does it come through the hearing of verbal instructions given by adults? Or maybe it results as a reaction to punishment received for laziness or disobedience.
Those ideas have merit. However, I don’t believe any of them in and of themselves will ultimately produce a child with a strong work ethic. What will ultimately do it? The answer is simpler than you think:
You Are the Work Ethic
You, the parent, are going to be their model.
In the Bible, the apostle Paul urged the believers at the church in Corinth to imitate him. He had started a church in that town and the new believers didn’t know how to act in ways that were spiritually appropriate. Paul told them to imitate him. In essence, let me be your spiritual father. Do what I do and you’ll learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Modeling is not simply a spiritual issue. It plays out in all facets of life. We learn by watching how people act, how they deal with issues and how they communicate with others. We judge their actions to be healthy (or not) and then adjust our behaviors accordingly.
Modeling of positive behavior is the #1 tool parents can use to affect change in their children. They will do what you do more than they will do what you say.
So if you want your kids to put down the technology, then read some books and get outside more often.
If you want your kids to speak about and treat people with kindness, then don’t cut others down.
If you want your kids to be wise with money, then don’t spend frivolously.
If you want your kids to stay away from alcohol, then keep it out of the house.
And if you want your kids to be hard workers, then get off the couch and quit griping about your job.
Verbal instruction is important. They need to hear us say, “Keep working hard.” But we all know a picture is worth 1,000 words. They’ll learn more by watching you.
Questions: Do you think speaking or showing is more important? What actions of yours have the kids picked up? How does it make you feel when the kids do something inappropriate and you know they heard or saw it from you? What else are you doing to develop a positive work ethic in your kids?
Prior Post: How Much We Pay Our Kids For Chores