My daughter's first grade class has been studying Sean Covey's 7 Habits of Happy Kids during their Social Studies time. I was surprised by the choice because some of the habits seem counter-cultural to a world of entitlement and helicopter parents.
Today we inadvertently focused on Number 3 "Put First Things First." Her teacher's description for this lesson is "Work first, then play!" I imagine there are a large portion of families in the class who think that their children shouldn't have to work.
One of the best things that my parents did for me was to make me work, starting young. I can remember standing on the gates when I was little with a hose and spraying the hogs in the summer. Through 4-H we all learned the responsibility of raising livestock and were at the barn morning and night. We try to teach our children responsibility even at their young ages. They all have age-appropriate chores around the house and the older two are currently earning money for a special toy they want by helping outside and in the shop.
Today we all five worked together to seed and straw the field where we removed two barns. In just under three hours we were able to seed and straw about an acre. The two year-old picked up rocks, the older two raked and spread straw. Together, we got the job done. What a difference it will make when the grass starts coming up and how much easier it was when we all helped.
Amazingly enough, there wasn't even any whining while we were working. The "High" for both of the girls tonight at supper was going for ice cream as a treat for their hard work this afternoon.