There are three legs to the tripod or stool upon which rests our genuine happiness: feeling loved, being loving, and being responsible. No three-legged stool can stand if one leg is missing. For now, let’s look at the leg of responsibility.
Not long ago my daughter Rachel planned a trip to come with her two children to visit Donna and me in Georgia. The day before they left, Rachel asked her son, Brad, “What do you like most about going to Georgia?”
Without a pause, Brad answered, “Working with Grandpa.”
Brad is thirteen, and from the time he was much younger we’ve worked together outside: digging ditches, cutting wood, pouring concrete, and more. We have FUN while we work and talk together. Secondarily, we accomplish things, and he learns and grows in confidence. The combination of growth and fun is irresistible.
From the time my children were young, I asked them, “Why do we work?”—often when they were complaining about doing a job—and in unison they would answer, “Because work makes us happy and strong.” Admittedly there was often a tone of sarcasm in their answer, but years later they taught their own children the same principle.
We can be loved unconditionally, but confidence is conditional. To achieve competence and confidence, we must learn to work and be responsible. All of us, not just children.
Somebody recently commented to me that families tend to gather as consumers—spending, traveling, eating, and so on—but rarely for the purpose of working. And I agree. I’m not saying that there’s no role for purely leisure fun, but a great many of us are missing out on the rewards that can come only from working together and teaching our children how to be responsible and happy.
Want to learn more?
Teach your children the rewards of work & working together.