“Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! … They labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.” (Proverbs 6:6 and 8, NLT)
I remember reading the fable, The Little Red Hen. It‘s the story of an industrious hen who planted some wheat, harvested it, and turned it into flour, so she could make bread for her little chicks. She asked other farm animals to help her, but they refused, preferring to laze around.
When the bread was finally ready to eat, they all wanted some. Since they didn’t help, the Little Red Hen did not give them any. Instead, she gave it only to her chicks.
Few people in today’s culture value hard work the way previous generations did. Proverbs teaches us that working hard is a timeless principle with lasting benefits.
Hard work is not just about our jobs or chores around the house. It’s putting in extra practice for sports, music, or other activities. It’s finishing homework. Simply stated, hard work is completing any assignment with the best effort possible.
Proverbs also shows us what happens when we don’t work hard. Poverty “sneaks up” on the lazy person. It can be poor performance on the ball-field or low grades because assignments aren’t turned in (which can cause suspension from other activities).
We’ve all been there. This can be a hard lesson to learn.
And sometimes, experience is the best teacher.
But we can give our children a head start by teaching them the value (if not the love) of hard work from a young age. When they grasp it, it can mean the difference in what type of job they land (with or without a college degree) and their ability to provide for their families.
Teaching our children a strong work ethic is another building block for raising independent, responsible adults.