The Value of Work

Raise your hand if you had a job growing up. Chances are, most of us who were born prior to the 1980s had some sort of part-time job in high school or college – some people even younger. While some of my friends and family members grew up on farms and worked from a very young age, I got my first job at the age of fifteen. I worked for a music store in my hometown and my duties were pretty basic – dusting the pianos, filing music, and occasionally helping a customer when others were busy. I loved my job and the people I worked for. Others of my friends worked at the local bowling alley, the community swimming pool, or had paper routes. Back then it was just accepted that you got a job so that you could pay for life’s “necessities” like trips to the drive-in to get a burger or extra clothes that your parents wouldn’t spring for.

Working Loses Popularity

When my son entered high school in 2000, working wasn’t as common. He had a school year job at a local retail establishment and, during the summer, operated a giant auger digging the deep holes to install football stadium lights. The summer job, especially, was hard work and he would often come home exhausted and covered in mud. Even though it was tough and there were times he really didn’t enjoy the heavy work in the Texas summer heat, not only did he learn a lot about working hard, but he also received satisfaction knowing he had a part in something bigger than himself. The bonus was that he had money – money to spend on gas for his car and activities with his friends. And knowing that he earned it himself actually gave him joy.

Some of his friends weren’t so lucky. They might have thought they were because they didn’t have to give up their video game time to clock in on the job, but every time they needed or wanted something they had to ask their parents. While most parents readily said yes, the act of having to ask every single time was a bit diminishing. They had what they had because someone gave it to them, not because they earned it. Knowing this took a bit of the joy away from the experience and robbed them of the important opportunity to learn to work for a boss who wasn’t a parent or a teacher, and to gain the skill of getting along with colleagues who might not necessarily be friends.

Diligence = Success

Learning diligence is essential to success and there are many examples of diligence in this world. Consider Thomas Edison and his numerous inventions or NASA’s effort to put a man on the moon. No doubt you have stories from your own life that illustrate the benefits of hard work.

One example that recently caught my attention was Tim Howard, goalkeeper for Team USA, who in 2014 broke a record for the number of save in a World Cup soccer match. During an intense game against Belgium, Tim stayed calm under pressure and focused on his job, making an official fifteen saves. When asked later what it was like to be constantly under siege by his opponents, Tim replied, “That’s my job. That’s what I do.”

This kind of focused effort led people to declare Tim Howard a “super keeper,” but what makes his story more interesting and inspiring is what Tim shares in his book, The Keeper:  A Life of Saving Goals and Achieving Them, in which he describes his battle growing up with Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

He worked hard, harder than everyone else, overcoming his disabilities, and turning his “disorders” into a competitive advantage.

Learning to work hard at a young age is valuable and will help your child experience success throughout life.

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