Are We Losing our Societal Norms About Work?
Work is something which is becoming less and less appreciated among our dear folks. Parents seem to think it is their duty to give their children everything they possibly can. Really, is that fine?
In this article, I am looking at:
- Tips for Teaching About Work
- Work Experience – A Case Study For Schools?
Some parents try to compensate for the time they spend at work rather than in the home by spoiling their children with material things. The effects of these actions on both parents and children are negative and are becoming a real problem.
If you have been handed everything all your life, consider some of the following points and maybe you can make some good changes in your life now which will affect the rest of your life.
I guess every parent has a good job teaching children the value of work and the value of their contribution. That being said, sometimes it is like pulling teeth to get our children to consistently do their weekly chores. So, lest you think our family is perfect, we struggle sometimes with getting them to complete their homework, or at times even finding their room in a mess.
Have we lost the opportunity to teach children in a real way, the value of working hard?
Tips for Teaching About Work
While we hope our children learn the intrinsic value of work, many of us struggle with that concept. What would we do with our time if we were independently wealthy? Many would not work much! So, we have to be creative and set an example for our children to follow as:
- Work is honourable.
- It is good therapy for most problems.
- It is the antidote for worry.
- It is the equalizer for deficiency of native endowment.
- Work makes it possible for the average to approach genius. What we may lack in aptitude, we can make up for it in performance.
Communicate About Work – Child psychologists recommend that parents share their experiences with work outside the home and talk about the personal benefits of working well. Parents would be well advised to talk about their successes at work and the personal satisfaction of performing well. When you get a raise or a bonus, talk about it with your children. Let them know there are internal and external rewards for a job well done.
Give Responsibility and Rewards – Teaching our students and our children to be successful in their delegated maintenance responsibilities is a bonus. When given duties and responsibilities over something, demonstrate it to them or even coach and clarify certain concepts to them on how to do it. Eventually, with some coaching and working side by side to allow a mentoring experience, OUR students and children will learn the value of responsibility and reward. Whether it is cutting the lawn, doing the dishes, the vacuuming or a cleaning their room, or cleaning their classroom, children need to learn responsibility and work first hand.
Teaching One on One – Most parents learn that the best way of teaching work is to work alongside our students and children. Too often, we put the chore chart up on the wall and move into our own projects without proper coaching and mentoring. Taking the time to work through projects and responsibilities together is the best teaching mode.
Personal Satisfaction. When we teach our children to invest their time and energy into something that requires hard work, it offers them a personal satisfaction they can only gain from experiencing work first hand.
Focus on Balance – Parents who have indulged their children and not yet taught much about work need to be careful in changing that mode. Just as “all play” children are a challenge, so are “all work” kids. The key is striking balance. Don’t go overboard in either direction.
Parents certainly have the responsibility for providing the basic necessities of life for their children, and many would argue that parents also have a responsibility to provide what joy in life they can for their children, but our students or children will never be fully able to appreciate the sacrifices their teachers and parents have made for them until they learn to work themselves.
Self-Denial – Teaching hard work also helps teach our children to think outside themselves and their own personal comfort all the time. Life is not about constantly playing and living a comfortable, leisurely life. In fact, the rewards of rest and recreation are far greater when work is included in a child’s day to day life.
Helping Your Child Get The Best Out Of School – For any work or task done, try to give encouragement and show appreciation of your child’s achievements, whether great or small, as this can help boost their confidence. Teach them basic organisation and time management skills so they are not overwhelmed with projects or homework.
Please check out my article on realising the benefits of potential in our children entitled:
Be realistic and avoid putting your child under pressure by having over-high expectations. Let your child develop at their own pace, but if you do have concerns, please speak to them or seek professional advice.
Feedback and Criticism – Try to give feedback rather than criticism, eg: saying ‘that didn’t seem to work’ rather than ‘you got it wrong’. This helps them think about where they went wrong and how they can improve in future, rather than just feeling like a failure.
Work Ethic – When we start our children young, we instill in them a strong work ethic. When we teach our children to work hard and do their work well, it will carry over as they become adults and get a job. Unfortunately, excellent work ethic is something that is sorely lacking today. Teach your child how to stand out as “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23)
Benefits of work – Poverty is financial, but it’s also much more than that. A body that doesn’t work and exercise itself becomes unhealthy, unfit, and naturally bent towards laziness.
…a child left to himself shames his mother ~ (Proverbs 29:15)
As parents, when we think about responsibility and our roles as parents, there comes with it the reality of duty. Duty is not a dirty word. Duty is recognizing we have an obligation we are expected to uphold, whether we feel like it or not.
God has given us our children to care for, teach, nurture, discipline, and disciple. Are we all doing our duties?
Work Experience – A Case Study For Schools?
Many schools across the globe are lacking in this development and concept about work experience. However, in UK schools, for instance, they have a statutory requirement and guidance for a period of work experience, or a more extended work placement for students. They have a core part of programmes for all post-16 students (from Grade 10/Year 10/Form 3) to Grade 13/Year 13/Form 6) whether following an academic or a technical curriculum to support them in developing their work readiness.
Alongside the guidance, the government also expects schools to offer high quality work experience as well as encouraging them to engage fully with their local employer and professional community. Schools have a Work Experience Coordinator, coordinating teams of students to help make arrangements for work.
The duration, timing and content of work experience placements always vary markedly between schools and by the student’s programme of study. Generally work placements range between 8 – 12 days with internships going for a month.
Work experience placements are understood to serve multiple purposes for our students, including:
- experience of the world of work,
- employability skills development and
- experience in helping guide their future career decision-making.
The importance of experiencing the world of work and the need for students to develop and apply skills learnt during study programmes are essential. Once students have been placed with an employer, schools typically support students and monitor their progress through telephone calls and face-to-face visits.
In my twelve years teaching in London, the impact of work-related activities were extremely beneficial to our students. We identified multiple benefits of work-related activities, with soft employability skills like communication and interpersonal skills; and increased confidence being the most beneficiaries among our students.
When our students and children are learning the values of work, both intrinsic and extrinsic, we will be instilling in them a life-long lesson. If you haven’t started yet, you need to start now.
Try it, dear folks, and the benefits will be astounding.
Good luck in all your endeavours.