Our world continues to change at a pace we have never witnessed. Experts say that by the time your child trains for a profession, that career may have been replaced by robots, artificial intelligence or at the least require a new set of skills and training by the time they graduate. Being open to new learning and training opportunities is important, but not the most valuable skill your child must learn.
On a farm, when the weather is right and it’s time to harvest the hay, or crop of some sort, all hands are on deck and ready to get to work. A work day can consist of 12 or more hours, 7 days a week until the crop is in the “barn.” There is no work-life balance, time for vacation or “me” time. When the work is there, it has to be done. It’s expected that hard work leads to success. The very survival of the farm and the people who live there depend on this sense of urgency and work ethic.
Today when a start-up is being launched, it is very common for the owners to work 12-15 hour days as they prepare to launch. Just like the farmer harvesting a crop, it’s all-out effort to get the job done.
Strong work ethic is something your child learns by watching you (the sponge factor as I talk about in my book) and something they learn by being required to work hard at by you the parents. If your child plays a sport for example, they need to learn that a great deal of the work happens when not on the ice or playing field. As they move through adolescence is it demanded that if you support them in a sport that they are expected to do their best in training on and off of the field? For playing the piano or other musical instrument, are you demanding significant practice hours away from the concert hall?
Hard work is required to be very good at anything. We know that. In most things that are recreational or fun, such rigor or demanding work ethic is not required. Just having fun with no preparation or work rigor is the rule for those. But you need to pick one or two activities for your child of any age where all out work is going to be required.
What you are preparing them for is a life that is capable of taking on any change or disruption that the world may throw at them. A strong work ethic will help them survive when others quit or fail to understand the effort needed for success. They are going to have to work hard at something, that something just hasn’t been invented yet.
Today we see a drought in work ethic as young people are continually pampered and protected from the realities of what is needed to be successful once they leave home. Don’t be that parent.
Start today by turning off the TV and getting to work. Make sure you discuss this with your child and explain to them the importance of putting out maximum effort. Then sit back and watch them take on this new ever changing world. As always your comments are appreciated. What do you think is the most important skill you need to teach your child?