Working on the Weekend: Teaching Kids the Importance of a Good Work Ethic

My oldest son loves when the weekends come around. He hopes to get to work with his grandfather and calls him every Friday and Saturday night to find out if he can go to work or not.

He works hard raking, cleaning, doing whatever odd jobs my father in law assigns him and he gets paid for his work.  He LOVES to work.

He loves spending time with his grandfather and there are entire weekends when it seems like we don't even get to see him.

The younger two boys typically spend their weekends playing video games or playing outside.

They often complain that Ian always has money and they don't.

They complain that he gets to work and they don't.

Often when they have a chance to work, though, they often pass it up.  They don't enjoy physical labor nearly as much as Ian does.  

I'd like to say we taught Ian his work ethic but I don't think we really did.  Working has been it's own reward.  He likes money, he likes digging in the dirt, he likes feeling like an adult.  We have taught him to work hard, to do the best job he can, and to be willing to learn new jobs.

This weekend we tried to teach his younger brothers the same thing; that they should work hard, do the best job they can and be willing to learn new jobs.  And we were hoping that their paycheck would be rewarding after a job well done. 

My two younger boys went with my husband to help rake and clean the lawn of their great, great aunt.

They were dragging their feet at first but the promise of a paycheck kept them working.

They thought they only had to pick up some sticks around the yard but since they're getting older they had a few more responsibilities.

  • My husband showed both boys how to wax the tractor and Evan sprayed the wax on, smeared it around using circular motions and then Alec followed along behind wiping it off.  
  • They learned how to check the oil and read the dip stick gauge.  
  • Evan took a turn trying to fit the side panel on the tractor and covered up the battery.  
Ian usually drives the tractor for my husband but since he was off at work my husband offered to show Alec how to drive and encouraged him to give it a try (Evan wanted to drive so badly but he's still not tall enough to reach the pedals).

Alec learned so much too! 

  • Alec sat in the seat and my husband went over all the levers with him.  He explained the different safety features to Alec too.  
  • Alec learned that if he moved his weight off the seat the engine would shut off.  
  • He learned how to go forwards, backwards, and put the tractor in park.  
  • He practiced turning the steering wheel from side to side.  
He finally felt ready to give it a try and slowly drove the tractor around with my husband walked alongside giving further instructions as needed.  I think once Alec realized the tractor went really slowly he felt much better about steering it around.

He did a great job too!

I think Alec was pretty impressed with himself but knowing his own limits he didn't want to drive it down any hills or any area that wasn't flat.  It was a great first experience for him and he stayed safe and in once piece so he was happy.

First tractor ride!  

 Alec and Evan worked together to sweep the walkway and the driveway.

They used teamwork to load the debris onto a shovel and dump it in the trailer bed.

They raked, picked up sticks, and worked really hard for quite a few hours to clean the yard.

They stopped to inspect vines, thorns, birds and woolly bear caterpillars.  They played with some of the sticks they found and pretended they were swords or sickles.  We tried to keep them on task as much as possible but they are young and need a bit of playtime here and there.



Raking and picking up sticks 

We got a good half of the yard cleaned before the boys decided they had had enough for one day.

Alec was pretty well covered in hives by then as it was pretty cool out today and his skin is quite sensitive to temperatures.  They wanted a shower and some lunch.

 They were famished after working so hard but proud of themselves and the money they made.


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