Teaching Children to Learn and Love the Eternal Principle of Work
If you could use one principle that you teach through the semester to give them wings to fly this would be it. This means working past the morning job list. This means working past comfort. When life gets tough or hard they want to back out and quit.
I am child #8 of the 10. Jenni & I have been married for 13 years. We have one child he is 9 yrs old. Our original goal was 7 kids. Sometimes you don’t always get what you want. That’s part of the lesson.
This feeds any other principle of the gospel. Either magnifies them to be powerful or diminishes them. It is learning how to work hard.
Open your mind and your heart to how you can teach this principle in your home. More specifically how you can exemplify this example in your home. I think sometimes the problem is that we ourselves don’t like to work. Sometimes it’s important to learn the principle so you can teach your children.
Powerpoint will be available online….
“An important element of doing the best we can as parents is to provide loving but firm discipline. If we do not discipline our children, society may do it in a way that is not to our liking or our children’s. Part of disciplining children is to teach them to work.”
- James E Faust, Dear Are the Sheep That Have Wandered, April 2003 General Conference
Discipline is the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.
Class member: If you can work hard you can learn anything else. Disciplining is not just punishing. It’s training.
Sister Tanner: I think it’s the process of overcoming the natural man.
You get in return what effort you put into it. If we are trying to teach them a code of conduct we would be fools to not teach them to work hard and feel pain and muscle through it. If we are teaching them that life is easy then we aren’t teaching them a code of conduct.
“One of the greatest values … is the virtue of honest work. Knowledge without labor is profitless. Knowledge with labor is genius.”
- President Gordon B. Hinckley
“How I admire men, women, and children who know how to work! How the Lord loves the laborer! …Those who are unafraid to roll up their sleeves and lose themselves in the pursuit of worthwhile goals are a blessing to their families, communities, nations, and to the Church.
The Lord doesn’t expect us to work harder than we are able. He doesn’t (nor should we) compare our efforts to those of others. Our Heavenly Father asks only that we do the best we can—that we work according to our full capacity, however great or small that may be.
Work is an antidote for anxiety, an ointment for sorrow, and a doorway to possibility. Whatever our circumstances in life, my dear brethren, let us do the best we can and cultivate a reputation for excellence in all that we do. Let us set our minds and bodies to the glorious opportunity for work that each new day presents.”
- President Uchtdorf, Two Principles for Any Economy, October 2009 General Conference
Class member: Seeing work as an opportunity as an opportunity is a huge change for me. Am I showing my children that it is an opportunity instead of a have-to-do list.
We all are in that boat. We think the drudgery. We need to make the attitude adjustment ahead of me.
Class member: President Uchtdorf’s words are amazing. I think I’m failing though. I kind of get the why even bother and even try. It’s more work to teach the children to work than it is to do it yourself. We shouldn’t compare our efforts to their full capacity.
The task you want them to do is so much more efficient if you do it themselves.
Class member: I raised an only child for 9 ½ years. I have 2 other now, but I trained him to work hard. We all do painful things, but muscle through it. He doesn’t see the joy in work even though he works hard. I learned my attitude needs to be better in getting through it. I assumed he would feel them once he got there. I need to be better at pointing out that there is joy and satisfaction.
There are things we can do as parents that can tie the end result to our efforts. Look at what good that does. Look how satisfying that is. Because of that look at the results that come from the work. Make sure you do push your children individually.
Class member: My son decided he wanted to do violin. We talked about it being something he would do all year. I told him that he was going to push him through. I know that it’s hard, but you can push through it. I calmly told him he was allowed to cry, but he had to keep practicing. By the end of his ½ hour he was doing a song. His demeanor changed.
Normally in those moments when those tears start coming we start to back into the corner and call ourselves a bad parent. We talk ourselves into that corner. Hopefully afterwards you talked to him about what he did. You muscled your way through it and made it to the end of that one practice and you can see the results.
I have a son who is a bit of a perfectionist. If he doesn’t do it perfectly he starts to get frustrated and down on himself. That causes the tears. I tell him… “Jake stop! Take a deep breath. Listen I know this is huge.” I treat him too much like an adult. In your own way with your own child you have to talk them through these moments that are hard. We talk about if we need to breathe or take a rest, but then muscle through it. I try to bring it down off this ‘the world is ending’ thing.
H. David Burton—Many have forgotten the value of work. Some falsely believe that one no longer needs to work. David O. McKay “Let us realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that power to work is a blessing, that love of work is success.”
Think about your banter about ‘when we retire life will be bliss’. Are we sending that message that we get to vacation or are we teaching them that work is a gift.
Moses 3:2 And on the seventh day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested on the seventh dayfrom all my work, and all things which I had made were finished, and I, God, saw that they were good;
- God (The God’s work)
- As they created the earth it was hard, messy, work. It wasn’t a quick process. They “commanded elements until they obeyed”. Do we command our children until they obey. That was work. He was working.
- Class member: We did all this hard work and then looked at it and said ‘This is good’.
- Look at the end and say this is good.
Moses 3:15 And I, the Lord God, commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat,
- Adam had purpose. He had work to do.
- Heavenly Father gave them a job. You are needed. Find joy and satisfaction in that process.
- Sometimes we say that work is a function of the fall…the thistles and briars and weeds. Adam was given a mandate to dress and keep the garden even before the fall.
- Class member: There is a difference between work and struggle. He had to have opposition and struggle.
- Adam was outside God’s presence and it made it difficult in a different way. I believe that the hardness of work existed before the creation. That’s what makes it change us. That’s why we love that process. The work IS success not the money.
- If we believe David O. McKay who said work IS success and we believe that Adam and Eve had a satisfaction of success.
- Class member: I visualize the fall is climbing up the stairs as an escalator going down. The fall happened and the escalator started moving down.
- I do think that in the fall we came into mortality….death and pain came. It was more challenging to produce those same results. New challenges were introduced. There was more development in different ways. We could learn all kinds of things when we are in the presence of God.
- Class member: I think the weeds thing is interesting. I have always seen the fall as the introduction of weeds. There was work that was fruitless…pulling weeds. I think our work would be more productive.
- In terms of tangible results.
Moses 4:23-25--And unto Adam, I, the Lord God, said: Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying—Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground—for thou shalt surely die—for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou wast, and unto dust shalt thou return.
- “For thy sake”---Adam & Eve had to make a choice. We need to remember that it is for ‘thy sake’.
- Class member: When we give our children work as a discipline there is a whole thought process that comes from someone else. You come to the end result that ‘I’m going to be working forever so I may as well learn to like it.’
- I hope that is what we are taking from this discussion. I’m not punishing you with chores. It’s not ‘punishment’.
- I think that your consequences have to be a direct result of what they disobeyed. It should not be, “You hit your sister go weed the garden.” We have now used work as this punishment and our kids will react this way. You have to be sure that you aren’t using work as a tool of punishment. You shouldn’t ‘inflict’ work on other people. You are teaching the wrong foundation.
- Sister Tanner: Sometimes what we consider work is appropriate. If their job was to fold laundry and they did a sloppy job they may need ‘practice’ so they get another basket of laundry to fold. You get more work because you need to learn to do it correctly not because you are a bad person.
- Your room should be clean because you live in this family. This is part of your daily chores and expectations.
- Class member: Work itself should be the success. What about rewarding work?
- It is ok to reward and celebrate and create this feedback “Yay we did it!” It’s still because we tie it back to ‘we all worked hard together’.
Moses 5:1--And it came to pass that after I, the Lord God, had driven them out, that Adam began to till the earth, and to have dominion over all the beasts of the field, and to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, as I the Lord had commanded him. And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him.
- They worked together. Be together in purpose and also physically be together working together.
D&C 88:124--Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may beinvigorated.
- Idle—inactive or in use, without purpose or affect, pointless, spend time doing nothing.
- Sister Tanner: Be careful in understanding idle and leisure time are not the same thing. They should not be pointlessly doing nothing. Just because they finished homework and the job list they shouldn’t be doing gaming all the time. They still need to have hobbies or work that is fun to do and learn how to do. Things that are not mindless. There are times when they need some let down time. We need to be sure it’s not ‘idle’, but still doing something of value.
D&C 75:28--And again, verily I say unto you, that every man who is obliged to provide for his own family, let him provide, and he shall in nowise lose his crown; and let him labor in the church.
- The idler…he who does not labor will not give himself in the church. We all have a place to serve and bless and lift and serve others. It doesn’t matter what your assignment is. It has everything to do with how you labor in the vineyard.
Mosiah 10:3-5 And it came to pass that we did inherit the land of our fathers for many years, yea, for the space of twenty and two years. And I did cause that the men should till the ground, and raise all manner of grain and all manner of fruit of every kind. And I did cause that the women should spin, and toil, and work, and work all manner of fine linen, yea, and cloth of every kind, that we might clothe our nakedness; and thus we did prosper in the land—thus we did have continual peace in the land for the space of twenty and two years.
- This speaks of everyone has a purpose. Everyone has their own individual jobs. They prospered in the land. They had continual peace. Wouldn’t that be great to have continual peace in your household?
- Doing construction and working on the subdivision….I think we would have had a lot more bickering if we hadn’t been working hard. We derived satisfaction from.
- Class member: We have different sections in our yard. I would go help them. We had a different section for each day of the week. It wasn’t torcher because we did it together.
You need to allow yourself to work harder and then teach your children to work hard.
Advertisement---Exposure to TV ads (Power Point Slide)
The message we just talked about is being opposed. Your children are seeing TONS of ads all the time. There is a huge marketing push for children.
“Children younger than 8 years of age are cognitively and psychologically defenseless against advertising.” (Look at the age of accountability)
The youth are the customers of the future. If I can ingrain that early on then I can perpetuate sales in the future.
Ad Exposure to Children---What messages are children receiving through advertising? What ‘gospel’ is being preached? How does this relate to the principle of work?
The real message in advertising….
- Promotes and “I want” mentality
- Impulses should not be denied
- Pain should not be tolerated
- Cure for pain is a product
- If it is hard or difficult you should not have to do it.
- Mix of entitlement and dissatisfaction
How do we win? We do work and we teach work.
Children ages 3-5yrs (slide)
Sister Tanner: I wouldn’t crumple the washcloths with them. I would say…lay out the washcloth on the table and say let’s match the corners. Teach them the beginnings of doing it right.
You won’t get excellence out of a 3 year old, but they will continue to grow and progress. Don’t lecture them because they aren’t doing it right. They need to participate. Quality doesn’t matter as much. Visuals count!!!
Do different things. Switch it up. That creates a new interest level. Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work forever.
Sister Tanner: When you go to a school store and look at their charts you can change those to chore charts if you want to.
You teach this principle early on!!! It is so much harder to teach a 16 year old that has never had to work and it’s really hard.
Children ages 6-11yrs (slide)
They identify themselves with what they are doing. They are seeing how they fit into the greater scheme of things. That is my ‘contribution’ to the family. This is long lists of jobs. This is a good time to push them beyond comfort. Their ability has increased! You need to start stepping away from them and allow them to work independently.
Sister Tanner: Working independently is SO important. They are not just ‘gophers’…go get this and go get that. You need to follow through and make sure the job got done. You have to know if it is done to completion. Children will lie to you. They don’t do it intentionally.
Give clear instructions at the beginning and then follow through. If it’s work for work’s sake then the work is done and finished correctly or it’s not done. It’s not you ratting on someone. Look at the expectations in the beginning. Have we met those expectations? No…it looks like there is more to be done.
Example: There were 2 yards of dirt in the back of the truck. He needs to work until it is done. He buries the dog in the process. You have to close the loop in the process. This was regular Saturday work.
Example: Jake’s dog is a female. We decided to breed her and she had 10 puppies. He is 9. Money is motivating him. We are going to sell all of these puppies. We decided that in his efforts for 2 ½ months he had specific things for him to do. We decided to pay him $200. We sold each of them for $650 each. He had to clean up all the pee and poop. He was fine with that for the first couple of weeks. He kept getting distracted. We have $200 for you. I will inspect your work and deduct $1 for each pile I find in the yard. You have all afternoon. He was glued to that job. We had to adjust it a couple of different times to keep him working on the job. In the end…we sold our last dog and we all sat down and we had money and we talked about the last 2 ½ months. We talked about all the work we did. Jake was like “I did a lot!” Then Jenni had this cash and counted it all out on his hands. We paid tithing and then we split the rest 50/50. 50% went to a mission and the other 50% he is getting to spend. It was a rewarding experience for him.
Teaching children to work: TIPS (slide)
- Be careful with “Your best is good enough for me”. Make sure you know your children and that you are not being manipulated. Push them!
- Class member: How do you do that without making them feel like they never satisfy you? Do you praise them when they do?
- They will be discouraged and they will cry. At the end you make sure it ends well! Sometimes you will have these experiences. We think it will be bliss and joy all the way through without sorrow. That is what the TV and internet say. They will experience pain and it will be hard. Let’s breathe for a second. We have to do this right. I know it’s a ton of dirt! Look how much you have already moved. I can get you a popsicle and we can take a 2 minute break and talk about it. Don’t do it for them. You will have these discouraging moments and they are failing. Know that you are teaching them well. It’s not all the ease until failure number one. It’s after they have passed failure 1, 2, & 3. You did it! You finished the whole thing. Don’t give up.
- Be consistent
- Be clear on your expectations. What are the consequences of not getting the work done.
- Tie the reward to the work or don’t.
- They have daily chores and jobs….give them ADDITIONAL work outside of homework, music, and sports. That was an expectation. She gave me jobs just because I’m part of the family and human just like she is.
- We have a culture of work in our family. Sometimes you have to think through what that looks like.
Class member: What do you say to them when they say, “That’s not on my job list?”
You know your child better than I do. You can take a couple of minutes and say, “I know there is a lot to do. Part of it is that we are part of this family and we work together.” It’s ok to be vulnerable to our kids that are 11 years old. We have to work together to get everything accomplished. Sometimes there is a negotiation. Sometimes that is ok. We as a family have to get this work done. You are part of our family. WE NEED YOU! We need you to be a contributor to this family. It’s going to take your time and creativity to do this.
They won’t appreciate it until they move out. You have a long haul ahead of you. You need to do a better job of tying in at the end of the day. If you spend week after week talking about how it helps the family and it helps you. Look at how all of our pieces fit together in this puzzle.
Teaching Children Finances: (slide)
Needs---Tithing, food, clothing, shelter
Less---Mission, savings, college
Wants---Toys, games, recreation, party
Pay tithing/fast offerings, then 50% goes to mission/college/savings and 50% is for them to use.
Nobody gives you anything for free. Don’t give them anything for free.
Allowances? Is this free money or hard money earned? Are they a major contributor to the family? It must be tied to performance and what you are doing. Don’t just pay them to be alive and keep your room clean.
If we didn’t keep our room clean our mother would bag up everything on the floor and either take it to DI or she would keep it and we would have to buy back a bag of stuff.
I made a promise that we would cover a lot of ground. I hope that in that process you have taken note on how the Spirit has prompted you to teach your children and how to change your attitude about work and money. If you sit down with these principles in mind the Spirit will teach you. The world teaches a counter sermon to them every day. Teach them the sermon of work and in doing it they will be powerful in so many other principles of the gospel.
8 Tips to Teaching Children To Work (Handout)—Page 70 Syllabus