It’s now April… and just like that 1/3rd of the year has gone by. Despite 2021 being a “weird” year (to put it nicely), it has gone by quickly.

I remember, as a child, my Dad saying to me, “Kelly, stay a kid as long as you can. We all grow up too fast. You have the rest of your life to work so stay a kid as long as you can.” If you ask me, there’s LOTS of truth in that statement.

Now before you may already be judging and picking apart that statement, I want to clarify something to you. My brother and I were taught to work HARD growing up. If we worked hard most of the time we were then able to play after we were done working. This all being said, from a very young age my brother and I were working right alongside of our parents, both indoors and outdoors. Years upon years growing up were spent outside cleaning up land/properties of overgrown trees, clearing scrub brush, blowing and raking leaves, taking care of pets and migratory waterfowl my dad raised for a hobby, painting fences, gardening, mowing, landscaping, etc.. I think you get the point. We were busy, a lot, but made time for play too.

It’s kind of comical to me that as I write this I could go on for a long time about all the various projects we did in my growing up years. I can say that I learned a lot, and truly learned to work hard, meaning having a work ethic that was molded in me. I also learned to see things from a different perspective by doing the work and experiencing the entire process. In my life (and my family’s) many people have judged I/us for inheriting or getting handed things/property/possessions. And guess what, that is just not the case. Some people have even been willing to make accusations that so and so got that and didn’t have to work for it. To those people and those that still think that, you couldn’t be anymore wrong in your thinking. My entire family and I have all worked dog hard for what we have here in this life. It hasn’t been easy, trust me, knowing some people think we were handed what we have on a silver platter.

Why am I sharing this with you today? The reason is because I want to bring awareness to a subject that often gets talked about but not taught about. As parents, as business owners, and as adults in the work arena, it is important that we all exemplify the basic concept of HARD WORK. I’m willing to guess you have probably heard “working up the ladder from the bottom step up concept, eh?” Well, that’s the basic concept of how my brother and I learned to work. As children, our parents should be teaching us how to work, having chores for us and starting by doing chores with us so we learn the whys, how’s and when’s to do them correctly, efficiently, safely, and timely. To learn the concept of work, and know that rewards don’t need to be granted for hard work is often missed it seems. Why? Well, it seems some kids grow up expecting money for doing their chores, but no one is entitled to anything, no one! Not you, not me, not anyone. Choice. We did volunteer work as well growing up, helping out neighbors with projects, friends and family as well. The rewards for those works and others were most often not money, but satisfaction in doing a job well and being appreciated too.

No reward? But kids LOVE rewards! Yes, they do. But tell me something, what happens when kids get a reward every time they do something? You guessed it, they EXPECT a reward every time. Well, in the real world, we don’t get rewards for everything we do. Actually, oftentimes we don’t get rewards for the things we do. This is why teaching kids the importance of hard work needs to be taught first as a child, then carried throughout all their growing up years.

Fast forward to adulthood. Your kids are grown up and hard working. They think for themselves, have worked hard for what they have and own, and are honoring both themselves and others. Your child doesn’t look down or up at others, but looks at all people equally. Furthermore, your child gives others opportunity to learn the valuable lessons of hard work, all the while still working hard to provide for them and their family. Wow, that sounds like a proud parent moment, doesn’t it?

When you, as a parent, have taught your children to work hard, to love much, use common sense, respect yourself and others, make healthy choices, listen to your heart, and be true to your own authentic self, I’d say “BRAVO!” to those parents. Parenting isn’t easy, to say the least. Being a parent can also be one of the most rewarding “jobs” in the world. (It really is a job, for the record.)

I’ve met a LOT of people in my life. I’m guessing you have too. You know the people and kids you’ve met that have these characteristics and the ones that are working towards it step b step, and unfortunately those who have not spent much time in teaching their young about work ethics, responsibilities, etc. What people do you want to spend time with, get to know better, or hire to work for/with you, the former or the latter?

Choice. It’s all about choices in life. As parents and adults, it’s now our choice to teach kids how to work hard, use common sense, have good morals, and respect others. It’s not brain science to teach these things. But it is an honorable dedication to instill these things in our children, in ourselves and others by the way we live our lives, act, think, speak, love and work.

Nothing in life is free. Everything comes at a cost. Someone has paid for it at some point in time. It’s not responsible or respectful to anyone to expect that we are entitled to anything. No matter if you’re family, next in line for a promotion, or desiring a “free” handout. No one is entitled to anything, yet for some reason we are now living in an era where people think they are entitled to much. How did it become this way? I will not answer that question, but instead say that everything starts in the home that we are raised in and the environments we spend time in, molded by the people we live and spend time with. Schools, daycares, homes. If you are a parent, please take the time to raise, teach, and educate your children in a way that will make this world a better place. Teach them good morals in all areas of their lives. Kids see, watch, and listen to our every word(s) so we need to teach and lead by example. Are adults and parents willing to do this? I don’t know, but I would surely like to think so.

I’d like to leave off with encouraging you as a parent, an adult, a young adult, or child to begin to grow and be a person that grows into a beautiful individual that makes this world a better place. Our world really needs more integrity and good values in it… now more than ever. Parents, I encourage you to teach and raise your kids in an honorable and respectful way. Adults, I encourage you to begin to change the world by living your life, as an example for all to see, with integrity and good morals. And children, be a kid as long as you can be, but don’t expect anything for free. Learn to work hard, but also to play hard with your friends and family, and younger kids with their parent’s guidance. You are the next generation in this world and we need more brilliant, respectful, responsible, hard working, and beautiful people filled with integrity to move this world towards being a better place to live.

To the reader, thank you for reading, thinking, and pondering these words. I hope and pray that they will ignite something in you, like a desire to become a better version of yourself, or to begin to teach the younger generation good work ethics, or, to continue to lead your life of integrity by example. May you be blessed in your part of making this world a better place knowing you are making a difference! Blessings!

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