I have a work ethic.
I was raised with the understanding that work came first, then play. If there is work to do you do the work to the best of your ability. Then you play.
Over the years I have relaxed a bit on that, sometimes work can wait.
However, when there is work I do the work to the best of my abilities and I expect those around me to do the same. I do not tolerate sloppy work, fast work, lazy work, or no work.
I will teach, I will demonstrate, I will show, and I will answer questions about the work I ask people to do.
So where is this going?
As a stay at home parent, I no longer see the necessity for distinction between stay at home mom or dad you are a parent, I have a lot of work to do. I do not get paid for the work I do, nor do I complain about the work that I do. I do the work. When there is group work around here I ask for volunteers and then I expect them do to the work without me having to constantly monitor their progress.
Recently, I tried to get the children to not only clean up their room but to donate to Good Will the toys and such that they no longer play with, no longer want, or feel they are too old for. I wanted them to get a sense of giving. I also wanted a clean room and further, they are getting to ages where the toys they have take up more space and need more care, thus time to turn into the next stage towards adultswhohavehobbies.
I asked the children to fill up totes with toys and such for donation. To put trash in a trash bag and for each filled tote they would get $20. I know, how is that giving if I am paying them. They are a bit too young to totally get the giving without getting something and the money they made went into savings. Win Win in my book.
What happened has turned into an epic meantwelldisaster. The first three totes were a combination of toys and garbage. We spent six hours sorting through all three totes to get down to one tote of donation and five bags of garbage. Suffice to say there were words said, tears shed, and the parents (us) who thought they were doing a good thing in the long term, got to see how the children really took care of their stuff and thought about their stuff. It was not a pretty picture.
Frustrated, I turned clean and donate into a larger clean and donate project with daily goals and lots of sorting. Now I walk them through what is donatable, talk to the about the state of the toys I find, and am trying to re-teach them how to take care of their stuff and why they should. To show them that I am not making them do something I would not, I too have been taking stuff of mine to Good Will and other places that will find new homes for toys.
After two days of non-stop work, our eldest comes out in a huff and yells the title of this blog at me. I replied without hesitation, “No I do not know what it is like to not want to work, because I have for longer than you have been around had to work for one reason or another and since you and your sister were born had to work harder than I thought possible, even now talking to you I am working because you need to learn what it means to have a work ethic, to take pride in ALL of your work, and to stop thinking that the world or anyone else owes you time off. You have a very good life, we have worked hard to ensure that you have a better life than ours, and that you and your sister have treated your stuff with such disrespect and now are telling me that I do not understand your position only tells me that I have more work to do.”
He left in a huff, but came back with three full totes, without trash mixed into them. Work never ends, at least for me it doesn’t.