I’m so proud of my two oldest kids. Today my daughter went to a friend’s house and helped clean it. She said the mom told her, “You are such a good girl to help clean.” I know she’s a good cleaner because I’m the one that taught her- and make her practice every week- but I think the desire to work comes from her. My oldest son has a reputation for hard work in our neighborhood and at scout camps and church activities. Many times, I’ve been told by a neighbor or a leader that Gavin really worked hard, stayed focused and got a lot done. I don’t think I taught him anything. He is just a good hard worker.
The reason I’ve been thinking about all this is that my 8-year-old is turning out NOT to be such a good hard worker. In fact, he is painfully lacking in any desire to help or work. And it’s not for lack of modeling, teaching, coaching, and consequencing. I know I have to stay the course and do my best to teach him to work, but apparently I’m not working with the same material.
Isn’t it interesting that kids come into this world with unique temperaments and inclinations? I’ve had all but 16 months of his life with the youngest one and yet with all my teaching, he just doesn’t want to work or help. I asked him to help me unload some groceries today, and he asked me if I would give him a nickel to do it. When I asked him what he thought his brother and sister would do when they saw me coming with the grocery cart, he said, “Help.” I agreed and said they would have jumped out of the van to help as soon as they saw me coming. In our family of five, I would say two of us work like mules (the parents, naturally), one is a very hard worker, one is an eager-to-please competent worker, and one is Justin.
I need to find a service project I can get him involved in so that he has the experience of helping other people and seeing how that feels. I still believe I can teach him to find satisfaction in a job well done. But it’s obviously going to take a little longer than I thought.