Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Category: Parenting & Pregnancy (page 1 of 4)

The Whole “Keeping Track of Money” Thing

My mom has always been fantastic at money management. She’ll sit down in front of the computer with all the receipts for an entire month and keep track of where any money was spent. She makes a grocery list and looks for coupons. She shops sales so that she can get the best deals. She has a budget with an amount set aside for everything that we might spend money on. Ever since my siblings and I were little and first started earning money, my mom has had us set aside some money every month to save to go to college and to serve missions. When my dad changed jobs and started getting a smaller paycheck, my parents went through the budget and decided what to cut. We got rid of most of our channels on TV, my mom started making homemade bread, and we stopped buying a lot of unnecessary items.

My mom is excellent at the whole “keeping track of money” thing. I, on the other hand, am not. There was one time when I was in high school that I had to keep a budget for three months for a project. Of course, I went to my mom for help, and she told me all sorts of things about money management, but I mostly just rolled my eyes and did the bare minimum to complete the project. Back then, I didn’t worry much about money. I didn’t make very much in a month, but I also had very few expenses, so it just wasn’t a big deal! But now I’ve moved on to a different story. Now I have to pay rent, buy my own groceries, pay for myself at restaurants, and pay for my own gas. Life is expensive! So this month, I decided to make a budget. I wrote down everything I could think of where I might spend money, and then I called my mom (of course) to see if I missed anything. But then came the hard part: staying within my budget!

I haven’t had a budget for long, but I’ve learned a few things already:

1) There are always unexpected expenses!
2) Some of those unexpected expenses can be controlled but some can’t be controlled.
3) It’s a lot of work to keep track of all my expenses; it’s easy to lose those receipts or forget that I bought something.
4) It takes a lot of self-control to stay in a budget, especially when I really want to buy ice cream at the grocery store!

Hopefully, I’ll get better at the whole “keeping track of money” thing. Maybe one of these months I’ll even manage to spend less than I earn! But until then, at least I’ve taken the first few steps towards successful money management.


Gilmore Girls Family Lessons

Do you perk up when you hear the words, Gilmore Girls? Are you still hoping that Netflix will put out a season two of A Year in the Life to answer all those loose ends we were left with? I know that I am.

Gilmore Girls is loved by so many people. It has its hilarious, as well as touching, moments that so many people can relate to in their own lives with their own families. The Gilmore Girls may not live within a traditional home of a married father and mother, yet they are still as much a family as any other family. Rory and Lorelai are truly the ultimate dynamic duo between mother and daughter. They have their rough moments, but they always come back together in love and unity, while making countless, unforgettable friends along the way.

Since we could truly write a book about the different family dynamics in the Gilmore Girls series, the following are just three of the amazing family lessons we can learn from the Gilmore Girls:

  1. Eat Together: One might wonder how the Gilmore Girls can consume so much sugar and take-out while remaining in great health and how they can afford the take-out in the first place, but they can! So many wonderful memories are made for Rory and Lorelai over take-out from Luke’s Diner, Pete’s, and more. It gives them time to bond and have meaningful conversations with each other. Take time to have a special meal or take-out with your family to just enjoy some good junk food and conversation.
  2. Always Apologize: Let’s admit, Rory and Lorelai, especially, do not have the best communication skills. Lorelai and Luke should have been truthful all the time and spoken their true feelings to each other! Lorelai and Emily should have taken the time to communicate their feelings in a civil manner when Lorelai was a teenager. Rory and Lorelai could have even used better communication in their many disagreements over boys, college, and more. No family is free of arguments or explosive communication, however, the Gilmore Girls always make up in the end. We can take this lesson and apply it in our lives—the importance of saying sorry, asking for forgiveness, and never loosing the close bond between family members over a dumb argument or harsh words said in a moment of frustration.
  3. Home is Home: One final lesson to learn from the Gilmore Girls, is that you can always come home. Despite all the craziness that happened in the family dynamic of the Gilmore’s, there was always a home to go to. Despite Lorelai’s struggles through her teenage years, she and her family are always welcome to Emily and Richard’s house. The love was always there; it never left. When Rory struggles through her issues in high school, college, and even post-college life, Lorelai is always there to welcome her home. Sometimes discipline is necessary or advice must be given on a questionable decision, but this does not mean the love is gone, but rather that the love is strong. Let’s remember the family we love in our lives and always have a home for them to come home to in hard times.


The Influence of a Dad

A dad in a fishing boat with two little boys
Many years ago, when my oldest son, Kevin, was a little boy, I used to tell him over and over that his daddy was a really good man.

One day we were looking at the Ensign, at the picture of the general authorities. I said, “These are pictures of really righteous men.” Kevin immediately asked, “Where’s Dad’s picture?” He had the right idea. Even though Dad is not a general authority, his picture could be with theirs in terms of being a good, righteous man.

There is no substitute for a good, righteous dad. All kids learn from their fathers, even if they are absent or part-time. The good news about this is that if you are a hands-on kind of dad, you can teach your children all they need to know, mostly by example!

When I was little I used to spend a lot of time with my dad. I would go to his store in Arnold, Nebraska, and he would give me little jobs to do. One of my earliest jobs was to fill the peanut machine. Then, I graduated to stocking the pop machine. Sometimes I would “get” to sweep the floor (using sawdust and a push broom). As I got older he let me answer the phone or run errands for him. As a sixteen-year-old, he let me drive a car (that belonged to a dealer) all the way home from Omaha (five hours away) all by myself. (Too bad he forgot to teach me to check the gas gauge and I ran out of gas 10 miles south of town!!!)

There is no substitute for a hands-on dad. I appreciate the time and effort my own husband put in to raising our children. I remember him reading stories at bedtime, playing catch, going golfing, trying to style girls’ hair, making pinewood derby cars, going camping, finding children who ran away, giving blessings . . . the list goes on and on.

There is one common trait that made both men great fathers: they were willing to spend time with their children. There’s a popular idea floating around that quality time is what counts. This is a lie. There is no such thing as quality time. There’s only quality moments that randomly occur when you spend quantity time together! You never know when those moments will happen. They show up almost by accident, when you least expect it.

Today, dads are often treated poorly in the media. They are portrayed as unnecessary at best and bumbling buffoons at worst. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dads are important in every child’s life. Their influence (for good or bad) is lasting and of great import. If you are a dad, step back and look at where you are spending your time and your talents. If you don’t feel like it’s with your family, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your priorities. If you’re not a dad, take time to think about the influence your own father had on you, and spend some time calling, visiting, and thanking him for all the sacrifices he made for you.

By Phyllis Rosen

Parenting tip #10:  Love Your Kids—No Matter What

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By Phyllis Rosen

Before writing this last article on parenting, I want to state something for the record:


But I didn’t always know that. There were times during their upbringing when I wasn’t convinced they were all that wonderful. Each one, in his or her own way, caused some anxiety or fear or anger. At different stages of their lives, they were not very lovable.

But you must love them anyway, and of course, deep down you do. So how do you show that love during these difficult periods? It isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Here’s what my husband and I learned over the years:

1. Find just one positive thing to say each day.

When one of our kids was belligerent and prickly and almost impossible to interact with without getting into an argument, I prayed and prayed to know what to do. The answer was: Read the Book of Mormon.  As I read the Book of Mormon daily, something happened to my heart.   It softened.  And as it softened, I realized I needed to find something positive daily about this child.  As I mentioned positive things to him  (which were not easy to find), I found that the tension in the home decreased.

2. Let go of the things that don’t matter.  

One of our boys decided to pierce his ears. Later he grew his hair long.  Both actions were not what my husband and I wanted. However, neither action was life-threatening or had eternal consequences. We finally learned that the hair and the earrings were outward evidences of inward feelings. We decided to ignore the outward and concentrate on the inner.

3. Make home a refuge.

When one child made choices that were hard for our family to live with, a neighbor came over and gave great advice.   She said,  “No matter what, make your home the very best place to be.  Make it a safe place.  If your child leaves home, you will have less influence and less opportunity to set the example.” My husband and I decided to follow that advice. We did everything we could to make our home a place where our child felt loved, safe, and accepted.

4. Have patience.

We had another child who thought someone else—other than my husband and myself—was more qualified to give guidance and direction. This frustrated me greatly.  But a professional counselor told us to be patient and in time our child would figure out who really loved him or her, and would come back to us, the parents. And that was true.

5. Get professional help as needed.

One of our children got into trouble to the point that I could not live with the fear of what the long-term consequences might be. I finally went to a family counselor.  The result was that he validated my feelings, especially my fears. More importantly, he helped me to figure out what I could do to alleviate the fear and move in a positive direction.  We don’t have to bear every burden by ourselves. Professionals can help us get through tough times by applying their training and perspective.

6. Do all you can, then turn the rest over to Jesus Christ.

Only by turning our burdens to Jesus Christ can we get through the fear and the sorrow and the pain.   When we turn our worries over to Christ, we literally feel the burden being lifted from our shoulders.  This doesn’t mean that all the pain or sorrow or fear is gone.  But it means we know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are aware of our situation and will guide us through it.  Turning our burden over to the Savior enables us to find joy along a difficult journey.

7. Remember that time is measured to us differently than it is measured to God.

We do not have the benefit of seeing the end from the beginning.  We can’t know whether our child will change tomorrow or in ten years.  We need to put our trust in God and know that His timing is perfect.

8. Last of all, when your child seems unlovable, remember that this is your opportunity to develop Christ-like love.

I discovered that after I had gone through trials with less-than-lovable kids, I was much more tolerant and forgiving of others. I am a better person for having gone through the hard times. Looking back, I can see Heavenly Father’s hand, not only in my children’s lives, but in my life as well.

And now I know without a doubt, I HAVE SIX WONDERFUL CHILDREN!

Parenting Tip #9: Be in the Moment

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Suppose Queen Elizabeth showed up unexpectedly at your home.  How would you respond?

A) Invite her in but continue to watch your Netflix. (only ten minutes left!)

B) Invite her in, talk to her, but at the same time post her picture to your Instagram.

C) Invite her in, make small talk while texting your friends to tell them about her!

D) Invite her in, sit and visit without any devices.

If you had trouble picking D, it might be time for digital counseling. Most adults would never treat a guest with such poor manners. But we seem to forget that our children should also be treated with good manners.  In today’s world, many people (parents) have trouble putting away their devices and living in the moment.

Children deserve our full attention. Babies learn how to communicate by watching their parents faces. They observe normal reactions:  smiles, frowns, laughter, crying, etc. These non-verbal cues help them learn the meaning of words and actions. Language skills are linked to thinking ability, social relationships, and reading and writing. In other words, the future success of your child depends greatly on their developing good language skills.  And that depends on you being in the moment with the child—looking the child in the eye and talking directly to him or her.

Although electronic devices are responsible for much of the distraction parents have while parenting, they are not the only problem. Work, church callings, desire to play (gaming, sports), and even household chores can cause parents to miss wonderful interaction opportunities.

jpg117Think play time. Children learn valuable social skills through face-to-face games. Playing games together helps children learn turn-taking, develop motor skills, and acquire conversational skills. Participating in these games requires hands-on for both parents and children.

But even more important than developing skills, children learn what’s most important to YOU by watching where you spend your time and your attention. If you are always on your phone, they quickly learn that that’s what you care about the most. No matter how much you TELL a child “you are important,” a child senses by your actions whether you really mean that or not.

When I was writing parenting tip #8—Play with your kids, I asked my daughter if she remembers playing together.   Her answer caught me by surprise. She told me that every time she came and asked me to play with her, I did. Now, not for one minute do I think that is 100% true.   I’m sure there were many times when I was too busy to “be in the moment”. But at the same time, it must be true that I stopped whatever I was doing often enough that her perception was that I always took the time to play.

Children grow up. The day will come when the house is empty of children and you have all the time in the world to clean, work, or surf the web. But you cannot recapture the time to get down, look your child in the eye, and listen to his or her heart. Make a commitment now to be in the moment.

For those of you attached to your phones, here are some practical ideas on how to have some device free time:

1. Have certain times during the day when you do NOT access your phone except to answer calls (screen the calls, answer only important ones). This means you are not looking at emails, Instagram, texting, etc.

2. Teach your children about phone-free times. Church, meal time, driving, movies, when company comes for short visits, bedtime, etc.

3. Choose to have device-free outings. When you take your child to the zoo, to the park, etc. decide to put your phone away and just enjoy the interaction. Watch their faces as they discover new adventures and experience the world. Be in the adventure, not posting about the adventure.

Remember, the things you love the most—think children—deserve the most time.

Parenting Tip #8: Play with your Kids!

Many of you know the saying:  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

This is true for parenting!!   All work and no play makes for very boring parents.

Relax a little and take the time to really have fun with your children.   By playing with your kids, they come to realize that you are a person; you have a sense of humor; you enjoy specific activities, you are good at certain activities; and you have a side to you that does not involve bossing them around.

So how do you play with your kids?  It’s different at various stages of their lives.

Here’s some of my favorite play moments:  

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From chopped competitions to four wheel rides with dad, our family always loved to be together and play together.

The truth is that it doesn’t matter what you do.   It just matters that you take the time to have fun experiences together.

Last year my son and his wife and two children moved back to this area because of a job loss.  He was in the process of interviewing but he had a lot of time on his hands. Many afternoons he called me and asked, “Mom, do you want to go on a bike ride?”   I usually had a long list of projects I wanted to get through, but I thought to myself, how many times will I have this opportunity to go on bike rides with my son and his family?   So, I agreed to go every single time!   I look back now at those three months and consider them magical.    

It’s never too late to start playing.  Give yourself permission to relax and enjoy your children.    I’m not suggesting that we abandon our responsibilities in favor of playing the days away.   But I am saying that the dishes can wait, the floor can be swept tomorrow, the laundry can be folded later.   Our children, on the other hand, will grow up and leave home, whether we are ready or not.    Taking the time to enjoy life together now will enable you to have delightful relationships (friendships) with your kids when they are adults.   

So, what are you waiting for????   GO PLAY!!!!


Written by Phyllis Rosen




Parenting Tip #7: Admit When You Are Wrong

No one wants to admit being wrong, and certainly no parent wants to remember the times when his or her parenting was less than stellar.  As parents we try hard to make good choices, but unfortunately,  there comes a day when you get it wrong.   What then?


Then it’s time to man up and fess up!

Over the years, I’ve had many moments when I failed as a parent.   I have lost my temper, accused the wrong child of misdeeds, and even made up silly rules that didn’t make any sense.   Somehow my kids survived and grew up to be productive citizens.

The truth is, we all make mistakes.   It’s not like any of us have all the training we need to be perfect parents.  Luckily, you don’t have to be perfect to be a great parent.  You just have to be honest and sincere and keep trying.  

So what should a parent do when he or she blows it?   I believe that the best choice is to own up to the mistake.   There are many positive outcomes of admitting your parenting mistakes.   I’d like to focus on four:

  1. When parents graciously admit mistakes, they teach their children how to behave with civility.  Everyone needs to learn how to say “I’m sorry,” and parents’ mistakes are the perfect opportunity to teach children how to do so willingly and in a timely manner.
  2. When parents admit their mistakes, children learn to trust them.   Children eventually come to the realization that their parents aren’t as perfect as they once thought.  As children get to this stage, seeing their parents admit to falling short helps kids to recognize that their parents are honest, which leads to trust.
  3. When parents admit mistakes, children learn that everyone makes mistakes and that it’s not the end of the world.
  4. When parents admit mistakes, they become accountable for their actions.   This encourages them to evaluate those actions and enables them to make changes for the better.

Richard G. Scott talked about admitting our mistakes:   

“Admit mistakes when you make them—for we all do. Admitting your mistakes builds character and also respect. Accept full responsibility for your actions.”  

When we realize that we need to admit a mistake, there are some rules to remember.

  1. Look your child in the eye.  If the child is small, get down on their eye level to talk to them.
  2. Don’t rationalize.  Telling your kid you messed up, followed by justifying your behavior, doesn’t really send the right message.  
  3. Make amends if possible.  
  4. Be grateful there is such a thing as repentance, and be sure to allow your child the same forgiveness for his or her mistakes that you hope they allow you.
  5. Learn from the mistake.   Try to recognize why you erred and look for strategies that will help you do better next time (count to ten before reacting; ask what happened before jumping to conclusions; refrain from assuming).

No matter how hard you try, you will make parenting mistakes. It goes with the territory.

Written by Phyllis Rosen 

Parenting Tip #6:  Teach your children about Jesus Christ

Of all the things I did as a parent, teaching my children about Jesus Christ is the one area in which I wish I’d done more.   Don’t get me wrong.   I did many things to teach my kids about Jesus Christ and the role He plays in our lives

Ways I taught my children about Jesus Christ:

  1. My husband and I were very consistent in holding FHE weekly.  This doesn’t meant that every week was a spiritual lesson.   But it does mean that we did have many lessons about Christ and His mission on earth.
  2. We were diligent about reading scriptures with our kids.  Sometimes we read in the mornings, sometimes at night.  Sometimes we read the books that had pictures to look at while you listened to tapes.   We even had a period of time where we got each kid a paperback Book of Mormon and drew pictures right in the books with colored pencils.   When it was talking about Ammon, we drew swords and cut-off arms, etc.  IMG_2640
  3. We attended church faithfully every week.  Our kids went to Primary and learned many more things about Jesus Christ.
  4. We had regular family prayer.   Every single morning and night.  Always.
  5. We had pictures of Christ in our home.

So…what more could I do? In hindsight, there is more I wish I had done.  

I wish I had told them—often—how much I rely on Jesus Christ and the Atonement.   I wish I had explained what the atonement was to me personally.   I wish I’d borne my testimony to them, maybe not in so many words, but by sharing with them how everyday events affected my testimony or helped me rely on my Savior.  

There were a few times when something major happened, where I would do this.  But I can probably count on one hand the number of times I shared my heart with my kids. I regret that.  How could they understand how much I trusted my Heavenly Father and needed my Savior if I didn’t share those feelings with them?  How could they learn to do the same?

We have neighbors who are not LDS.  The husband is, in fact, a preacher for another faith.  When I talk with his wife, I am blown away by how much she talks about Jesus Christ and His role in her life.  I have often thought that it would be a great idea to follow her example by putting Jesus into my everyday conversations just a little more.   

pasted image 0A month or so ago our youngest grandchild (she was about 6 months old) had a medical emergency.   She was taken to the emergency room where they ran tests and thought for a few hours that her intestines had problems.   This family lives out of state, and while this was unfolding, our other children who live in Utah happened to be at our house for a family dinner.  So before my children left our house, I asked if they would kneel down and pray for our granddaughter with me, which they did.   It was very satisfying to openly ask for my children’s participation.


So if I had it to do over again, I would change a few things.   

When the Spirit touched my heart and made me want to cry, I would not hide it or stifle it.   I would tell my kids exactly how I was feeling and why, and help them to know that the Spirit can touch their heart, too.

When I felt impressed with a church message or specific doctrine, I would try to find ways to talk about it at the dinner table, or at FHE.

And more than anything else, I would talk openly and often about Jesus Christ, and how my life is better because of Him.

Written by Phyllis Rosen

Managing Childhood Asthma

mother and girlBecause asthma is the most common chronic illness among children it’s important to understand managing childhood asthma. Upon this discovery many parents have a limited understanding of the disease and its treatment, which is the exact information parents need to know and utilize to keep their child healthy.

Disease Overview

For starters, asthma is an illness that makes breathing difficult because of temporary inflammation of the air passages. This results in coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness (WebMD, n.d.). When symptoms are severe, it is called an asthma attack. These attacks can become severe enough to warrant a hospital visit and in extreme cases results in death. Because these attacks can come on suddenly, controlling the illness can keep individuals from experiencing a dangerous asthma attack

Identifying and Limiting Triggers

According to KidsHealth, this illness can result from a few causes, known as triggers: allergies, colds/repertory virus, and environment triggers. The website further explains that identifying and reducing exposure to a known trigger is the key to controlling asthma.

family walking along beachLuckily, parents are not alone in finding and controlling the known trigger. According to KidsHealth, doctors will often have patients keep a diary that includes times and potential causes for the asthma symptoms. Once the needed data is collected, the doctor will use the diary to determine the trigger. Doctors will also help the patient and parents determine necessary steps to control asthma. This information is included in an action plan KidsHealth suggests having a copy of the plan in each location where your child spends a large amount of time (i.e. home, school, etc.)

If your child has asthma and you have not received support in finding and controlling triggers from a doctor, it is worth the effort to request this assistance from your child’s doctor. After all, it will help keep your child healthy.


There are over-the-counter medicines that we can choose to take or not to take, but prescription medications for a chronic illness are prescribed out of necessity. For your child to control their asthma, they need to take the dosage as prescribed by the pharmacist.

In addition to taking the prescribed medication, it is also important to take the medicine correctly. Even if the prescribed dosage is being taken, failure to take the medicine in the correct manner can result in the medicine not working properly. The following are common ways that asthma medications are administered and the right way to take each of the medications: 

162265724_XSNebulizer: Turn on machine. Put on face mask. Breath in the medicine slowly.

Dry Powder Inhale: Press the release button and breath deeply.

Meter- Dosed Inhaler: This type of medicine works like a spray, push the lever on inhaler and breath in.

Anti-Inflammatory Pill: Steroid pill taken orally with water.

As you help your child control their asthma remember that reducing triggers and properly taking medication are two keys to controlling your child’s asthma. KidsHealth says that if these two steps are taken most children with asthma can enjoy a normal life with minimal asthma-related complications.

Disclaimer: Stance on the Family is not a medical source. Stance advises those with asthma and their families to talk with a doctor if experiencing any difficulty with managing asthma.  

Written by Laura Fillmore



Parenting Tip #5: Work Ethic

Teach Your Children to Work

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to work we go…

In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the dwarfs sing cheerfully with their shovels in hand as they march off to work in the mines.  This probably is not the way your children march off to complete their chores.   More often the mention of chores brings groans and grumblings.  Yet teaching children how to work (and the value of work) is important.

“Teaching children the joy of honest labor is one of the greatest of all gifts you can bestow upon them. Let us also teach our children to see that the work assigned is carried to its completion and to take pride in what they accomplish.”     L. Tom Perry

This begs the question: how can we teach them to work and to take pride in their work?  I will be the first to admit that this was not my strong suit in parenting.  I tried all different kinds of charts, but they only worked for a short period of time, then I’d have to try something new.  I did, however, discover something over the years.

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Little children actually come with a love of working.  My grandson (McKoy) is 1 ½ years old, yet every time he sees a broom he tries to sweep.  When I start dusting, he wants to follow along with his own dust cloth.  Another grandson (Griffin) is 6 and he loves every opportunity to join in my chores.  If I’m raking leaves, he’s right there; if I’m mopping the floor, he’s begging me to let him do it; if I’m baking, he wants to measure, add, and stir.  

I think that children are born with a desire to produce good works.   

The key is to capitalize on that desire while children are young, then gradually expand their work loads as their abilities and skills increase.  Making assignments around the house when they are small prepares them for outside jobs as they mature.

When our two oldest boys were about 10 and 12, they got a paper route.   This was just a weekly journal that they delivered to a neighborhood near us.   It wasn’t hard work, but it did require getting the job done on a specific day by a specific time.  The pay was not great, but they didn’t need a lot of pay at that age.  Best of all, my boys learned that  work comes before play because deadlines don’t wait.

Our fourth child decided to get a job at age fourteen.   He walked over to the horse boarding facility near our house and applied for a job—and got one!!   As our other children became old enough, we encouraged them to find jobs.    Our encouragement paid off (literally) for our youngest son when he started mowing lawns in the neighborhood.  He was able to make more per hour than he could have at a regular job.  Plus, he had the benefit of setting his own schedule, so he learned time management.  


Our youngest daughter started working at age 14.   She spent two years at a water park, then at age 16 started working at a grocery store, a job she held until she graduated from college.  Having a long-term job enabled her to learn some skills beyond the basics of showing up for your shift.   She learned  how to get along with people who have different work ethics, the give-and-take of substituting for others so you can get the same in return, the benefit of friendliness and customer service, and most of all, how to stick with it when you are tired of the routine.

So how did we get them to work? We set the example.  Throughout their growing years, my husband and I both worked in the yard and around the house, and we made sure our kids had the opportunity to work beside us.  Did they love it?  NO!   As they got older, they found they would much rather go off with friends, or hibernate in their room, or do almost anything rather than plant the garden, hoe the weeds, or clean the house. But we persevered (consistency!!!).

We tried hard to ensure that their efforts were appreciated and that they had challenging jobs.  

Twice I repainted the entire house.  The first time my son Stan helped me paint; the second time my daughter Kim worked beside me.   These were hard jobs.  After we were done, when someone came to the house and commented on the new paint job, I made sure I let them know that Stan/Kim had been major players in the home improvements.   

236Because I have four boys—all tall and strong—my neighbor would call and ask if she could hire them to do some work for her.  After the first couple of times, she began calling them regularly, explaining that she liked calling these boys because she knew they would work hard and get the job done.   This type of feedback helped them to be proud of their work ethic and pushed them to work in a way to hold on to that reputation.

Kids need to know that they have the ability to contribute to the family through their work.  Every time I did a task myself because it was easier or faster, I sabotaged their growth.  Even though they didn’t always do things to my standard (think raggedy mown lawns), they did share the workload.   And that’s worth a lot!

I love quotes that explain ideas briefly and often with humor.   Here are some of my favorites regarding work:

  • “Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.   Autograph your work with excellence.” (Author unknown)
  • “People are born with brains and sometimes with money, but work ethic levels the playing field.” (Ryan Holmes)
  • “Hard work spotlights the character of people:  some turn up their sleeves; some turn up their noses; and some don’t turn up at all.”  (Sam Ewing)
  • “Talent is cheaper than table salt.  What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”  (Stephen King)

The only way to get kids to internalize these ideas—that work makes the difference—is through experience.   As they learn to work at home and at school, they will begin to see the reward. Once they realize the benefits, they will become self-motivated workers.

Written by Phyllis Rosen

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