WARNING: Family or parents you know will thank you for sending this link in this blog to anyone who has children immediately… They will thank you!
It is my belief that – especially in the United States – we tend to coddle our children! For those of us who have traveled, especially to Europe, the southern hemisphere, or Asia, for example, it is clear that children in the United States seem to be given less responsibility and may in some ways mature much more slowly than children from other cultures. That is my anecdotal perspective.
One of the gravest errors parents make is to not require their child to work before they graduate from college. I consider my job experiences, starting when I caddied at Knollwood Country Club, near Lake Forest Illinois, around the age of 12, to have been critical to my learning a strong work ethic. Working road construction and high school and college was just as vital to learning what a Real Full Day of Work was. In saying this, a job that is truly strenuous and in some ways grueling is critical.
I do career counseling (career service handout) with high school, college students, and adults, and far too many times students in college are unable to report of an actual work experience they’ve engaged in. How can we expect college students to be able to handle the demands of a full-time position if they’ve never had a serious work experience before then?
Another major problem with children today is they have absolutely no idea of the costs of living. No wonder there are so many stories about college graduates or young adults living back on their parents’ couch. It seems that is almost more common than graduates getting a job.
Here is one key thing you must do with your child when they are as young as eight or nine years of age, or younger. Look at an actual cost-of-living calculator and have them understand how much things really cost! That way, you are getting them regularly used to understanding how much things cost and how much they can earn for various kinds of work they do either for family members or for people out in society. One great cost-of-living calculator is at the following link: http://www.leavingthefolks.com/cost.php
Wonderfully this tool allows for calculating in ALL costs, and adjusts for the most relevant city. Yes, they can see that going to LA will cost them a fortune!
Recently, I was invited to give a talk to the Pima County Attorney’s Office program that has to do with the Community Justice Board. Members of this board process those youth offenders who have committed less serious crimes but that will still receive consequences decided upon by the volunteer board members. I shared this link with the volunteer members of this board and they were excited to receive it, as you should be. They agreed that one consequence to give some of these youth offenders would be to go and calculate the true cost of living so they become more realistic about how important it is to have a job and not have a criminal record.
BTW: Keep your eye out for future blogs I will be writing on other ways to exposure child to the real world so that they grow up as someone with an internalized moral code and resilient work ethic, and is that kind of child that will truly be a leader and secure our future as a race. Right now, given some societal trends with our children being overly entitled and coddled, many of us are not so sure that our future is secure.
Don’t forget: Forward this link to anyone who has children so we can begin countering the epidemic of poor work ethic and overly coddled children who may legally become an adult but psychologically remain frozen in immaturity.