|Photo courtesy of Kris Hughes - all rights reserved.
Every generation of humanity has benefited in many positive ways from the technological advances of that generation. The most tangible evidence of this is the advancements in the medical field. Illnesses and injuries that just a few decades ago would have debilitating or terminal are now diagnosed and treated with ease. These advances not only increase the quantity but also the quality of life. The development of the mechanical engine has allowed a single individual to do the same amount of work as scores of men in previous times. The increase in productivity has not only benefited the individual but his community as well as the individual has been able to bring an ever increasing variety of goods and services to his neighbors. However there is a potential downside to these advances.
When technology allows us to do more with less effort, the desired byproduct should be for the individual to channel that freed time into additional productive pursuits. Instead we often see the opposite; where the individual is only focused on completing the task at hand and not focused on what he or she can still accomplish in the time they have made available. This is not to say that we should not enjoy the benefits of this increased productivity by investing additional time into our families, hobbies and personal interests.
The challenge arises when the individual who has committed to a certain amount of time to work, rests on his laurels when technology allows us to accomplish the same tasks in less time. Instead of recommitting themselves to accomplishing more in the time they have allotted to work they say “job done, I can take it easy”. When this happens on a consistent basis the individual gets accustomed to spending less time working and more time taking it easy. We as a society are seeing this more and more often particularly in our children.
Today’s children seem less capable of self motivating themselves to accomplish their own tasks. Technology has made it easier for the tasks to be done, and we as parents have not filled in the work void with additional tasks to accomplish. The children have gotten accustomed to maximum benefit for minimal effort on their part. This has imparted upon them a lazier attitude than previous generations, and we as parents are the culprits.
We need to teach our children the beneficial attitude of hard work, not just the material benefits of hard work. The person who embraces hard work will succeed in life, regardless of the circumstances they find themselves in. We all face hardships at different times in our lives; how we attack those hardships is the ultimate deciding factor of the final result. Those that embrace hard work lift themselves up by their boot straps when they find themselves in difficult times and immediately begin working on a way to resolve their problems. Whether it is loss of a job or natural catastrophe those who have embraced hard work will resolve their problems much faster than the person who waits around for someone else to solve the problem for them.
We need to cultivate this attitude in our children in as early an age as possible. In our family there is an expression “When we work we work, and when we play we play”. When there are projects to be done all hands, regardless of age, chip in. Everyone works at the task until the task is done. Growing up in this environment teaches children that adults value hard work and if they are to be respected by their elders they should do the same.
If you want your children to embrace hard work you have to give them age appropriate tasks to accomplish. As they succeed the tasks get more involved and more challenging. Hmmm… kind of sounds like progressing in the martial arts. Helping our children to understand good time management; budgeting appropriately for both work and play along with fostering an attitude of accomplishment will go a long way to putting them on a path to future success. Teach them to focus on how much they can get done, instead of how little they can do to make their boss/parent happy. Those who embrace hard work will always rise above those that only want to get by. Which do you want for your child?