Recently I had a conversation with a local small business owner on the subject of work ethic. It started off something like: “Kids today….” and it got me thinking about my childhood, how I was raised by my parents, and how my parents were raised by theirs. It started this kind of chain reaction actually. Like most kids in my generation I grew up in a household where we had strict rules and guidelines for everyday living. In reality my parents had an even stricter upbringing.
As a kid, one of my jobs was to make sure that my living room and kitchen were spotless prior to my mother and father arriving from work. I not only had to make sure the kitchen and living area were done, I had to make sure that both areas were done correctly and completely. What a concept for kids today, eh? Yeah! I had many other chores, but the bottom line was that if the job wasn’t done right, I faced the wrath of my father in the form of stern and forceful communication. It could get quite embarrassing really; depending on my visible level of care for this: A most basic responsibility.
At the time I greatly resented my dad’s attitude. Having a relationship with him then was difficult. At that age I felt like I was being picked on and singled out. I resented what he was trying to teach me and I selfishly developed the viewpoint that he was just being hard-nosed and a bit too critical. Sound familiar? I figured it would.
It wasn’t until many years later that I truly understood what he was trying to do. I am sure that it was then that I finally became a man. I was enlisted in the US Army at the time and finishing AIT at Ft. Sam Houston when it hit me. What my father had been pushing me so hard to adopt as standard practice was fortified by my enlistment; the further training I received in the Army helped me solidify my foundation and helped me see that my father was a great man. On a side note my father and I finally started to talk more. Funny how that happened, huh? 😉 Lots can be said of “Personal Responsibility”.
Anyway, during my conversation with the business owner I also began to see the rippling effects of having limited time to raise my children as a single parent. I discovered that I personally had even less time to raise my children correctly than my father had. The downward spiral in current society became less transparent. And the illustration explained (as plain as day) how our current workforce got into trouble in the first place. Not only was the spiral downward now visible, I started seeing where the downtrend began. Since in today’s world most households have both parents working full time jobs, and as there is less time to properly raise and direct one’s children, the effects can be seen in almost every area of life. .
Prior to the end of the conversation I had with the business owner I spoke of above, I found myself often asking the question: “Why do so many kids today have such a poor work ethic”? Now it is clearer to me what helped to cause the problem. And just to clarify, when I use the word “kids” I am referring to the younger generation in particular. I am 48, so I consider those young enough to be my children “kids” more or less. Anyway, what I see is that most of the time one’s grade of work ethic is proportionate to the level of responsibility one had during childhood and young adulthood. I think most would agree. The way we were raised as children and young adults greatly dictates how seriously and carefully we accept responsibility as adults.
We’ve all heard the saying: “It takes a small village to raise a child”. It’s true. In today’s world with most parents at work, it has never been more important to make certain that our children have the values instilled in us as children and young adults. And if we choose to simply succumb to the world around us, make excuses and insist that work ethic as a subject isn’t so important, what we can expect is a world that will continue its slide into the mud. The responsibility of educating on this particular subject is ours and ours alone. And we have to act fast, especially with all the distractions our children face. We compete with electronics today. Some families don’t even eat together anymore. It’s tragic really, but the good news is that the downward spiral can be reversed. Schools don’t teach this stuff anymore. So it is completely up to parents to see how not instilling a high level of responsibility in our children and helping them understand why anything but strong work ethic will essentially doom this planet.
There are things in the workforce currently that we can do to increase responsibility among employees, but ultimately, if we want to put mankind in recovery and improve the state of our planet, it starts NOW and with the importance we put on this particular subject matter. If we choose to do nothing we can expect more of what we have today. But if we work hard as individuals we can make the world a much better place, one child at a time.
As always, I hope all of you flourish and prosper beyond your dreams. I also hope you were inspired by this article and that it helps increase YOUR level of responsibility enough to make the changes needed to improve the condition of our present and future workforce.
Have a great week!