Have you ever tried to encourage your kids to complete their chores or be responsible or even just to complete their school work? Making these activities meaningful may be the secret to success!
What is meaningful work?
How can we create work to be meaningful?
Firstly let’s look at what is “meaningful work” It is..
- work or activity that makes sense
- work or activity that has a point or a reason behind it
- work or activity that benefits others
(based on Michael F Steger’s research into this area)
If a child or teenager doesn’t link meaning to the work/activity that you are trying to encourage them to do – they will drag their feet or just simply give up. Is that happening in your home?
When your child is young, he needs to follow through with your instructions just because you are the parent and he is the kid. But as your child gets older and particularly when they embark into their teenage years they need to link meaning to the activities that you ask them to do.
It is vital that you start early in introducing work that is meaningful – work that makes sense, work that has a point to it AND work that benefits others.
If a person is left to themselves they become selfish and their activities evolve around satisfying themselves. We see this in teenagers spending hours playing video games.
We need to encourage our children and teenagers to do something that benefits others – like …
- chores – washing/wiping dishes, cleaning bathrooms
- building furniture
- washing cars
- mowing lawns
- helping mum bring in the food shopping
- walk the dog
- painting… just to mention a few.
Give genuine praise when they have completed the project or task. Complement them on what was good – maybe they didn’t give up or did a little bit extra or just had a great attitude.
Why is meaningful work so vital?
- teaches responsibility – our children need to learn cause and effect. What happens if they don’t feed the dog? They need to learn that their task (work) of feeding the dog is important and they are responsible for the health of their pet.
- instills the concept of the value of money – If a child/teenager has to work to earn money they will definitely value that money more than if it was given to them. They are less inclined to go and spend it on junk food, rather they will want to save it for something of value.
- they gain confidence – last year my then 10-year-old son spent two months building and painting a bird house. He went from having no idea how to use wood working tools, power tools or paint brushes to gaining useful skills. He started with low confidence in his abilities to beaming confidence!
- they learn endurance – sticking with a project or task is a great skill to have. In these modern times our kids expect everything to happen straight away – instant. That is what is shown on tv and in the movies. But as parents and adults we know, in real life, things take time to complete.
What do you think?
Do you have any ideas on introducing meaningful work into your kids lives?
Love to hear your comments
Next post will be on a wonderful book that inspired my boys towards meaningful work – highly recommended!