Times sure have changed since I was a kid. When I was a kid children were expected to do chores every day. You wanted to go play with your friends? Well then you’d better have your chores done first. It wasn’t just your daily chores either. In the winter we had a gravel driveway that was about a half a bock long that needed constant shoveling and needed shoveling sometimes a couple of times a day even if it was still snowing. In the spring we had to dig up the garden for planting. Mow the lawn in the summer and rake and burn leaves in the fall. Add to all that, spending weekends and vacations at grandpas farm and if you made a face or complained about all that hard work you were getting the 3″ wide leather belt that was popular during the 60’s (I swear it seemed a lot wider than that) across your bottom to help adjust your attitude.
My old man used to say (like so many other fathers of his era) that if you were going to do something do it right or not at all. The latter wasn’t really an option. Something funny happened with all that hard work and the occasional belt across the bottom; you just stopped complaining about having to do what was expected of you. The work wasn’t going to get done by itself and it absolutely needed to get done. Back then we didn’t have illegal aliens who would work for pennies on the dollar to do the work we didn’t want to do and even if we did we knew the value of money. Homework was just another chore you didn’t have to think about whether you wanted to do or not you just got it done (maybe it was the belt).
Todays kids don’t seem to have much to do with their time. About the only chore they have anymore is cleaning their rooms. Someone else mows the yard, few have grandfathers with dairy farms, and little girls aren’t in the kitchen learning how to cook from their mothers because most of the time their mothers can hardly work the microwave oven.
Throughout my working career the one thing my employers could never say was that I was a slacker or had a bad work ethic. I didn’t need to be watched all the time I just did my work and I did it the best I knew how. There was a lot of pride for me in doing the best I could at work even when no one else noticed. I had worked my whole life so I didn’t see it as something that was taking away from my life but rather something that was just a part of my life like breathing air and if something was going to be a part of my life and represent who I was as a person I wanted to do the best I could.
These days people seem to think that there is something wrong with work. On Monday they do a half assed job because the weekend is over and on Friday they do a half assed job because it is almost the weekend. In fact it seems like the only day anything ever gets done is Wednesday. You know “hump day”. The day you do work the way you probably should have done it all week long. Is there any wonder why Americans are getting spanked in the import export business? We export our resources and import crap made by someone else. It isn’t because people in America get paid too much it is because we have become a nation of slackers showing up to work late, leaving early, and doing the absolute minimal required to hold onto a job we constantly complain about.
If we are going to fix America we have to look at the next generation because this current generation is already so lost they just can’t understand the concept of a good work ethic. They have grown up in a world of video games, cell phones and blockbuster movies in their own living rooms. Todays kids can’t even be bothered to walk to the public library (do we even still have those places) because everything is at their finger tips.
If we want the next generation to be better than this one we have to somehow convince the current generation that kids are supposed to do chores. No …
chores and work are not slavery they are magical learning experiences that carry on in your kids for the rest of their lives.
At least if you teach your kids a good work ethic maybe just maybe they won’t still be living with you when they are 30 or still riding on your heath insurance plan at 26.