There was a young man who recently came home from his mission. I was a little bit shocked he was home. He was called to the Philippines and went to the MTC and went there and was gone for 1 week. He called his parents and said I want to come home. They gave him a pep talk and he said no I don’t want to do this I want to come home. Then the parents emotion changed…buck up and get to work. They finally just said, “I think you want us to tell you it is ok for you to come home. We will never say that. This is your choice.” He said I want to come home and he came home. This young man ever had to do anything hard. He grew up on a $400,000 home. Those things spill over onto our children.
Another young man went to BYU. He gets called to California…the wealthiest mission in the church. They haven’t had a baptism there in 8 years. This area doesn’t think they need the church. It’s very difficult for missionaries. He gets out there and his trainer sleeps in until 8:30 and then blares some popular pop artist in the morning and doesn’t do anything. They park at members homes. He ended up coming home.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit” Aristotle
What are you ‘excellent’ in? What are your kids excellent in? Is it Pinterest? Is it football? Is it games? Is it scouting? Is it homework? Is it service? What are we excellent in? Is it checking our phone? Is it TV watching?
I have a daughter that leaves in 19 days to go to the MTC and then to Paris. Since they changed the age…young men leave right out of high school. Can they go to the grocery store and buy food for a meal? Can they schedule their time? Can they do their own laundry? Can they sew on a button?
My husband grew up on a single home where he had to work and then gave the money to his Mom. My daughter works 4 jobs here and there wherever she can get. She feels like her Dad still disapproves. “Mallory…somehow we will be able to pay for your mission. When you go on a mission you will be working 16 hour days every single day.” We think about work and the money that is attached to work.
We go to school, come home, and then what do we do?
The principle behind work. Work is an eternal principle. It was one of the first that was given to Adam and Eve. The Lord worked to create the earth.
Genesis 2:15…created earth and man. Then rested on the 7th day. God worked. He didn’t just watch. Before they even do anything wrong. He gives them this principle of work. ‘Take care of the garden.’ Work is something we do. It is not a punishment. Life is hard. We are here to work. After they partook of the fruit.
Genesis 3:17-19….ate of the tree, cursed is the ground for thy sake.
It was cursed for our good so we can learn to help us develop self discipline. We are supposed to work ‘all the days of our lives’. There’s missionary work or other things to be doing.
The best things in life usually are the hardest to get. Exaltation. How hard is it say our prayers and read our scriptures every day. Why is something that simple so hard for the rest of us….it’s disciplining yourself.
“Work brings happiness…It is the means of all accomplishment; it is the opposite of idleness. We are commanded to work. Attempts to obtain our temporal, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being by means of a dole violate the divine mandate that we should work for what we receive. Work should be the ruling principle in the lives of our Church membership.”
(President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report October 1977, pg 124)
Class member: The bible dictionary says, “Prayer is a form of work.”
Do we all want our children to work hard? Are we afraid of doing hard work ourselves? Are they going to learn anything? Parents need to work hard with their children.
Class member: I have children from 16-8 months…6 of them. You have great conversation with your kids, but it’s hard to keep them going.
The answer to that is you get nothing done. Teach your children to be the maid. Hopefully you have trained your older children to not need your side by side help.
Class member: My family was raised pretty militant. Work is in our bones. Early morning seminary in high school 5:#0am. Our room had to be spotless before we left. This one morning I was running late and didn’t make my bed. I am so sorry, but Annie forgot her manners and didn’t make her bed. He took me out of my Algebra class. He brought me back. I knew as soon as he walked in why he was there.
My Mom did that to my sister too. On the same side of that she felt like there was a huge embarrassment factor. You have to be careful not to embarrass them.
If you start this when they are little they will just know. We have to teach our kids to work ‘past comfort’. What is comfort? You have to work 16 hours a day on a mission. What is comfortable for me? I don’t want to work as much as I have to as a Mom.
We worked hard at home, but we worked on the subdivision in 7th grade. Before that every Saturday at 7am we did landscaping for the different subdivisions….weeding and taking care of the berms. One of the best things about my Dad is that he is an optimist. That is important for teaching work. If you say… “Yes you are going to stay there and finish the job.” Does that empower a child? “They think if this is enduring to the end right now let’s just end this right now.”
When children are young, it is better to work with them as they learn how to do “hard things”. My son, Cory, has a little boy named Jake, whom he is trying to teach how to work. Jake was 3 ½ years old. Cory was digging out the grass so he could pour a boarder of concrete around one of his flower beds. It would have been faster for Cory to just put the sod in a wheelbarrow as he went along, but it wasn’t about fast, it was about teaching. He had Jake pick up the pieces and take them to the wheelbarrow which was across the yard. Jake worked happily for a little while and then he began to get tired and wanted to go in and get a drink and be done. Cory began to encourage him, telling him to notice how many pieces were already in the wheelbarrow and what a nice job he was doing of picking up all the pieces. Cory told him it was hard work and he was proud of Jake for working hard. He let Jake know that he was building strong muscles. Through working with him and encouraging him along the way, Jake was able to stick to the job until it was done. This was a hard thing for him. When they were finished, Cory took a picture of Jake showing off his muscles that he had made so much bigger through his hard work. We have to teach our children to work past comfort. They need to work when they do not want to. They need to work when they are hot and sweaty or cold and numb. Character is not built when it is comfortable; it comes from doing difficult things well.
He positively talks him through this process, but at the end he did it. Jake thinks he can do hard things and that he can do it well.
That’s what builds these feelings of self gratification and ‘Wow! I did a good job.’ When they are young it’s really important that we take the time.
Class member: That rings really true to me. As an adult I really enjoyed weeding the garden and laundry because I thought I was the best weeder and best folder. Because my Mom encouraged me and told me I did a great job.
I hate to cook and my kids hate to cook too. I think it’s important that our kids see that we don’t like to do, but we have to do it anyway. “This is not my favorite job, but we can crank up some music and get it done.”
When your kids are really little it’s important to train them to do the job. If you say, “Clean your room.” It’s completely different between my idea and my husbands idea. Let it be ‘age appropriate’, but don’t go back on what’s required.
Do job charts. Switch them up regularly. Go to pinterest. Hang things up.
Inside kitchen cupboard…have a list of daily or ‘deep’ clean. When you do that the list becomes the bad guy. What does the list say? You did that really well. What does the list say. Look at the positive first. Try and find something they did well and start with that.
Dishes/Kitchen…unload dishwasher, clear table, load dishwasher, sweep floor, empty garbage, put stuff away that doesn’t belong, wash off counters and table, push in chairs, do all of this with a happy attitude or you get to practice again tomorrow night.
“The choice to be happy” is our family motto. Don’t go back on your expectation. My daughter had dishes last night. She comes home from school and disappears in her room (she’s 12). My 9 year old wakes up and says can I clean the fridge today, can I organize the pantry, I really want to clean the garage. I have to fold all the laundry and the upstairs bathroom because we are having company this weekend. Where is the challenge? How does my 9 year old work past comfort if she loves it. That is still required. I have to push her to do the jobs she doesn’t like.
For chores…it’s whatever works for your family. The older your children get the less time they have to work. That is a reality. They have more homework. School is longer. Football/sports are longer.
I did not love getting up at 5am in the summer to work on the subdivision. We were dropped off and said we will be back to check on you. You can make work fun. We all have these really great memories of work.
Class member: My parents were really hard workers. How much is that example passed on?
Class member: Not everyone has that cool thing your dad does. What about instruments? Sports? Are you talking specifically house work?
How do you teach kids to work when you have really close neighbors. I do think that instruments and football teach great things. Those are things you want to do. How easy is it to work hard on something you want to do.
Class member: I have a child that has some issues. Saturday mornings become horrible. There was crying, whining. I will clean when they are out of the house. She is in counseling. The counselor came up with an idea…I go and warn her that she has a half and hour..go on a walk, read a book, to get them ready to clean. Find something that they love to do and then tell them you have 5 minutes then we are getting ready to work. Some of the kids need that prep time.
Little kids…they love to work. Usually we would just as soon do it ourselves. They make more of a mess than what they help. Get plastic dishes. Put water in a squirt bottle and let them clean the windows, fridge front. You can use vinegar and water I won’t hurt them, but it will disinfect.
What kind of jobs? Our preschool is our kindergarten. We are missing valuable work time. Kids can do silverware. They can match the silverware. I would mess up my closet of shoes and have them go match it. The kids did baseboard every day.
We moved out into our big house when I was 9. We did all the construction clean up. It had a basement and 2 levels. When we moved in we had an unfinished basement. One day my Dad says we are going to haul this away (a huge pile of wood)He said today I want you to throw this wood from this room to that room. We had to put the whole pile of wood into the other room. Now we are going to get a trailer and haul this. Now I need you to carefully throw this wood out the window and make the pile out there. We spent all day throwing the wood out. I think we had one broken window. After 2 days he said, we can’t get the trailer. There was no landscaping and it was going to rain so he had the wood muddy. He had them move it back into the house. We moved it 6x. Did the wood need to be moved? No. I finally told him when the trailer was there I would move it.
Have them pull the cushions off the couch. Pull the pans out and wipe out cupboards out every day. (3 yrs old)
What is comfort to a little kid? I tried to keep them working until noon. They did reading, exercise, deodorant was always on my list (4-5yrs old), scriptures, workbook. I could keep them busy all morning. These are practices. We have lunch. They have quiet time…1 hour…color, nap, look at books, not talk to Mom, no TV.
I used TV as I have to make dinner do you want to watch a show.
Let them help you if you are doing something.
Age 5-11…they are internalizing routines. They are going to say I have to do my chores first then I’ll ask my Mom. There jobs are getting bigger. Instead of doing the vacuuming on the couch…Once our kids start to read you can make the check list. Take them into a bathroom right after you have cleaned it. Then talk about it. Look at the bathroom. Does it feel like the floor has been done. Feel the tub. Talk about all the things you have done. Let them see your finished job. They don’t see what the finished product looks like. Then you call them back and say this isn’t good enough. Show them a finished product. Here you make the list.
You have to find things for your kids to do. I remember having 3 jobs after school. That’s 27 jobs she has to come up with. What do you do? How do you find all those jobs? I was waiting for her to say I’m just waiting for you to come home from school. I changed all the diapers when I came home from school. I thought…if I’m changing diapers and cooking and doing dishes…she was doing it the whole time they were gone.
You learn to love those you serve.
Have them cooperate and do their jobs together. They need to work with Mom & Dad.
Class member: I started having my children do their own laundry. Saturday night at midnight he realized he didn’t have his laundry done. He wanted to do it on Sunday. But it was getting him to think ahead.
Have an outside job and an inside job. There is a note that says pick 3 jobs, write them down and I’ll be down to check.
Class member: Sometimes it’s always wanting to step in, but we need to allow them to fall and then learn to get up.
We as parents often try to rescue our kids. Are we including ‘spiritual’ work on those lists.
Allowances: I never got an allowance growing up. I think it’s important to have pay jobs for kids to earn money. That list needs to be on your fridge with how much they can earn. Part of work is having money and learning how to budget and do your finances.
We worked really hard. I was given my tithing and the rest was put in an investment account. I wanted to go to a volleyball camp so my parents paid for it. We never had money. All of my siblings are terrible financers. Be given responsibilities of what to pay for. With money comes responsibilities. I cannot stand kids who get an allowance for making their bed, cleaning their room, and taking out the garbage once a week.
Once a week you better be doing a service. I see this old man mowing his lawn. I stopped and introduced myself. I didn’t know him. I would really love it if you would let my 15 year old mow your lawn this summer. If you provide your lawn mower and gas would it be ok if he came and did that for you. If he is going to work and earn money he needs to practice what the job would be before he can get paid for it. You need to be doing that.
Class member: What do you do when you just cannot get a kid to work?
My brother is a white personality. He doesn’t care. That’s fine. “You can’t go out with your friends” “Ok”. She told him to clean his room over and over. She said if you don’t have your room clean by this time I will have to pay someone to do it. He had to pay the youngest sister to clean his room. Everything except Sunday things goes in black plastic bags and gave them to Mom. Mom said they are in a bag. He had a date and he said can I look through the bag …there were 3 of them. He paid her $20 for the bag. The shirt I want is in here, but the pants aren’t. So he paid $20 for the other bag. If you don’t buy the 3rd bag back by a certain date I will take it to DI. Then she did it.
Whites you can pair up with others. They don’t want to do it. They will chat and be a cheerleader. Be careful, but they will work better if you do it with them. You need to help them do that. They need to know that they can do hard things. They can.
Over Christmas I am going to have my boys redo the trim and repaint their rooms. That son will say “it doesn’t need to be done.” Say, “Nevertheless, if you work from 8-5pm you can go out with your friends tonight.”
Scouts: We follow Satan’s plan in my house until they are 18. Once you get home from your mission you have full agency. I have a hard time with parents that say, “You can choose…to not do scouts.”
The scout program hasn’t been working. I need you to help these 4 seniors that are getting ready to become an eagle. Ask to be on a committee. I have to have some pull in there to get things done. This is something that will help the boys that is not comfortable. Scouting is the epitome of work.
If they are starting to play an oboe, you have to do a 2 year commitment up front. Scouting & Young Women’s medallions teaches goals, finishing.
Class member: My husbands parents didn’t encourage strongly to get his eagle. He can now see that he missed out.
The other thing we do is that you can’t ‘force’ them to do it, but you can’t ‘drive until you have your eagle’ or ‘you can’t be in the musical until you have your eagle’.
We have a tendency to want them to be eagle scouts and expect the leaders to help them get there.
You should be doing the Personal Progress with your daughter. You should do it again. The goals that you set at 12 are very different from when youa re 17.
Class member: I just finished up my 3rd 4-5 yr run in Young Women’s. Personal Progress has to almost always be at home. The only way we had girls advance was if their parents were doing it at home. In our home we do it Sunday after church.
She had no support at home. Scouting is not a saving ordinance. I’m ok if he doesn’t want to do it. A mission also isn’t a saving ordinance, but they need to finish something.
Class member: I didn’t like personal progress it was doing a craft or sewing. They were projects of what you did. Mothers be involved with scouts and Dads be involved with Personal Progress.
We worked hard and then played hard together. We went backpacking. It was mental strength. Missionaries go without a phone and yet now they have
I have a 17 year old with a cell phone, but he pays for it. I had someone come to me and give us a phone and pay for it for a year. We give him this phone we don’t tell him it’s paid for and he had to pay for it. The phone is ending in January and now he is going to find out that the phone is not $10 a month. You can have a ‘no phone’. My 16 yr old has a ‘no phone’. My 15 yr old can’t even have that. You can have a phone, but you have to pay for it.
“Helping Without Hovering”
Mark D. Ogletree Ensign Mary 2012
“Parents today may feel more peer pressure as adults than they ever did as youth. Children are often quick to point out what “other parents” allow their children to do. Teens may challenge their parents on any number of issues, including whom to date, when to date, how late to stay out, whether or not sleepovers should be allowed, and what movies are appropriate. Many parents cave in to their children’s wishes, so those who stand up for the right and follow prophetic counsel may find themselves in the minority.”
We need to be doing big projects in our family. Our homes are our stewardships. I had my son change our faucet in our bathroom. Do we let our kids problem solve.
Class member: My husband is a school administrator. He has several foreign exchange students. They comment about the culture of laziness and lack of work effort. Kids complain about the homework they have.
Not only that if you look at where Idaho falls academically…it’s bad.
Class member: I have a daughter from Ghana. WE adopted her when she was 9. This girl knew how to cook a full meal, clean up and take care of the younger kids. My kids have so much it’s hard to find things for them to do.
Hobbies: That time should not be idle time. We should not just let our kids do nothing. We do that a lot. How much TV do they do? How much surfing the internet do they do? We need to teach them constructive hobbies.
Class member: So much of that has to come from stepping outside the box.
Activity days exposes them to a variety of things.
If you have a calling…take your kids and have them set up your chairs and then I want you back here to clean up at 9pm. What are we teaching our children. These are our responsibilities. We were there anyway. Grab a broom. Get the trash.
Class member: When we sustain someone we are agreeing to help in any capacity.
If you have a 1-2-3yr old we don’t want your help. If you are going to help and let your children run wild…we don’t want your help.
It’s putting off something we want until later. Other things are important here besides me and what I want. Don’t pay for it now. TV says you deserve it. You should have it. You need it. Right now! It is effective. We as parents fall into that trap and think we are not very good.
We are peculiar for a reason. Don’t feel like you are bad. My Mom took so much flack from her Mother even for making her kids work so hard. She was very alone in all her efforts. I heard things like that in church. One of the greatest things I learned from my Mom was to ‘not care about what others thought’. Her focus was on her kids. She stayed focused even in spite of those things around us. She stayed with that. I watched a lot of my friends not go on missions, get into some serious trouble.
Class member: How did she answer people?
She didn’t feel like she owed them. “I’m doing what I feel is best for my family.”
Class member: We both grew up on farms. My husband worked from the time he was 5 years old. We have gotten a lot of snarky remarks about city kids not knowing how to work.
My daughter in her mission packet had a whole list of manners. Our youth get their food and sit down and start eating. They show up late. Why does the church have to print out a list of manners? Parents aren’t requiring it. We let things slide because they are saying things to us, but
Class member: How did you feel growing up in your family that was peculiar
My personality is a lot like my Mom’s. I clumped on to ‘this is what’s right I don’t care what others think’. It was hard. We don’t go trick-or-treating for mutual. We don’t do sleepovers. There was always something else provided. It wasn’t just no, there was something else.
Class member: You are teaching them what they are doing. We aren’t just trying to be mean. They believe in what they are saying.
As my kids are watching these missionaries they are starting to realize why we are doing what we are doing. It’s harder for my kids than it was for me.
Mom do you know how embarrassing it is to be the only one to not have a cell phone? My response is..”To me you’re the smartest kid out there because you can borrow 30 at one time. Then I say, you can have a phone if you can figure out how to pay for it.” It becomes their choice. They think…I have a mission to pay for. I don’t want to pay for a phone.
Our youth are so “can I go right now?” We need to plan. Our youth are impromptu. My kids feel left out of that. They aren’t in the friend loop. They don’t know what’s going on. That is hard for them. What are they doing for their time. Have we taught them some hobbies they can work on. Are we filing that time with something else?
Class member: When you have a void you have to fill it with something else. If you take something there is a void, what are you going to fill it with.
Work had to have the balance of work and play. We worked really hard and then we played really hard.
You have to go find things to do. We pick up trash along the road. Do it together. Do it with a happy attitude.
The father’s role is to provide. It is a blessing to be able to work and provide for your family. We were out of work for 1 ½ yrs. The week of Christmas we did a paper route. They complained, but it is now their favorite Christmas. They had to postpone that great feeling of Christmas.
If we want good missionaries we have to create good missionaries. We have to help them suppress some of those natural man tendencies as well as our own. Anything that involves the Celestial Kingdom will take work.