How a Work Ethic Gives Your Kids an Advantage

Teaching Children the Value of Work Prepares Them to Live a Valuable Life

Every business leader knows that you can prepare and plan all you want, but success often hinges on how willing you are to hustle when everyone else is taking it easy. Sometimes what you need to succeed — and what your children will need to succeed — seems to be in rare supply: a diligent work ethic.

Two little girls baking in the kitchen

As a small business owner, I’ve done a lot of hiring over the years. In my experience, more and more young people seem to want a high-paying job right from the start, but they don’t have the work ethic required to achieve it. I hear a lot of talk about raising the minimum-wage level but not the minimum-work level.

As someone who truly values my staff, work ethic is one of the things I notice that makes any employee stand out. I can usually tell within the first few days if he or she has a good work ethic. I try to determine that in the interview process, but sometimes it is challenging based on what people say. It’s what people do, not what they say, that reveals their true work ethic.

I don’t define work ethic as what people do when they are around me. The true test of someone’s work ethic is what he or she does when no one is around. How well do you work when you think no one is watching? That’s what reveals your true work ethic, because it reveals your true character.

The Wisdom of Solomon says, “Those who work hard will prosper.” I’ve certainly found that to be true in business. Because we want our children to be ready to succeed in the real world, we’ve tried to be intentional about instilling a diligent work ethic in each of our kids.

Why Work Ethic Matters for Children

Here are a few things we do for our children when we help them develop a diligent work ethic:

  • We give them a competitive advantage. When so many of their peers expect to be rewarded simply for showing up at their jobs, our children’s work ethic will immediately separate them from the rest. Want to position your kids for career success? Teach them to work hard.
  • We provide them with the drive to succeed. Succeeding in business — and life, for that matter — means always trying to improve. A healthy work ethic teaches them to seek opportunities to grow and change, even if no one else seems to care.
  • We encourage them to start something. A healthy work ethic feeds the entrepreneurial spirit. It moves our children to get up off the couch and do something. If we don’t want our children living in our basement for decades, we should teach them the value of getting to work and making something happen.
  • We empower them to push past failure. When our children see what can be done if they are willing to work hard, they begin to believe that what most call impossible may, in fact, be pretty doable. Teaching them to work gives them the determination to get back up and press forward when most people choose to quit.

Question:Where have you seen the value of a diligent work ethic as a business leader? What other benefits do we give children when we teach them to work hard? You can share your thoughts by clicking here.

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