The best parents are always thinking and reflecting on how they can be better parents.
And by “better parents” they don’t mean how can they be more popular with their kids, or be the “cool” parents. For these parents, quiet reflection centers more on “how can I raise a kind and compassion adult who will grow up to be responsible and hard working person?”
In the present state of our country, more and more people are moving away from the values of work and sacrifice, especially as the government launches aggressive campaigns to add more people to assistance programs. This shift in government’s mentality, from one of wanting people off the government teet to one that wants more people on assistance rolls endangers the efforts of every conscientious and striving parent. And, if the US is going off a financial cliff, as many wonks are warning, this dependent class could very well find themselves crippled should austerity come to our shores as it has in Greece, Spain and other European countries.
This means parents must double-down on teaching, exampling, and demanding that their kids not look for the easy way, the shortcut, or some host they can be a parasite to. Fortunately, this is not difficult.
Exampling is by far the easiest way to teach your children self-reliance. Do you try to find someone to do what you yourself could do? The mentality in today’s society is that our time should be spent in activities that have the highest dollar return. This means hiring someone to cut your grass, shine your shoes, wash your car, repair a hem, etc. But modeling these activities has tremendous value for parents. Wealth comes with years in the work force. Showing your children how to do chores they will not be able to afford when they first set out on their own is preparing them for life.
If you have been exampling, a certain amount of teaching has already been happening. However, exampling does not guarantee your kids have been paying the necessary attention to how you do a thing. Teaching can happen formally, as in “Come here I want to teach you how to do the laundry”, or more stealthily as in “Would you give me a hand with this?” Either way, teaching involves go step by step through processes.
Demanding in this case is not what you think. Demanding is the declaration of family values at every opportunity that everyone has to do their part and share the workload. Families may find the creation of a mission statement helpful. Speaking, or better yet posting in writing the family values on work and contribution for the benefit of the whole insure you are molding a person who will be able to be self-supporting.
Gifting the world with a contributing citizen is the most valuable contribution one can make. Count this first when you wonder what good you are doing for the world. You can do no better than this.