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  • Trish Whitsell

Appreciation of Hard Work


Have you noticed that most self made successful people come from a long line of hard work? Notice I said hard work, not long line of success. There is a difference in self made success. I truly believe as a parent one of our major roles is to teach our children to be proud of their own hard work. It doesn't have to be slave driven, or even break any child labor laws lol...it just has to show results. Not necessarily positive results, but always results that can be verifiable.

I posted in my last post a few projects I had done at our own home, two in which our son and his friend were crucial participants. I let them know before we started that I needed their help, and how important the job really was. I told them the work was going to be done in stages and it would be an all day event.

I had two pieces of furniture that both were beat up and needed some repair. The first, a round cocktail table just needed to be re-purposed or chopped up and used for firewood! With me guiding and working beside them, I had them put on some gloves and start in painting. After the paint was dry, they used a scraper to make some scrapes, then sand paper to give it those final touches and soften the look. We then put on a weather seal and I made it into an out door furniture piece for our patio.

The next piece was an old dresser that first needed to have the bottom of two drawers replaced. After that the same steps from above were followed again. By this time these two just knew they were professionals and had more confidence than when we started on the table. They had more fun with it as well, and they worked a little harder as they had already seen the results of the table. The dresser was then placed in a bedroom for that final touch of color. We then went to the pool and had a fun day together.

Of course our son isn't always happy to participate in family business or work in general, and sometimes he drags his feet before we start. The main thing is every time he has a verifiable result. The next is an example of the result not positive, but fixable.

Our son has the job of mowing at least 4 rows of our yard as he just turned 9, this is a new responsibility for him. He was thrilled at first, but as time wore on and every week those rows still had to be mowed... he has lost the excitement of using the mower and "doing a grown up job".

When he mows he now realized that he has to stay in those lines for the yard to have that well groomed and finished look. He only knows that staying in those lines are an important part of the job because of the first time he mowed. It was difficult for him to see the lines or understand why it was important until the mower was stopped and time to inspect his work took place. After messing up those four lines and leaving some noticeable tall grass behind, and then having to restart the mover and go back to redo all his hard work from before, he learned a valuable life lesson. He now takes his time to do the job correctly the first time. He takes pride in the fact that it was done correctly when he is done. He knows that the consequence of a job done incorrectly is having to go back and do it again, until it is correct.

If we had just patted him on the back and said job well done, and only pointed out the lines as we redid them...he would have learned a bad habit of half way efforts and that if he messes up mom or dad will come behind him and fix it. He would have received praise for just his participation and wouldn't see the need to improve his work. As it is, he learned accountability and that every action has a reaction whether it be positive or negative.

I truly am thankful that my father and mother taught me how to work when I was still a child, pretty sure I wasn't as grateful to them back then though! lol Some of the hardest parts of parenting is teaching follow through and also letting your child fail, so they will later learn how to succeed.

When you have your own business and you have a family, it isn't just your business, it is a family one. Everyone should participate in the success and the even the failures.

In the design business it is a unique opportunity to teach children to think outside the box, to dream, and to fix their mistakes. To participate in creating dreams and turning them into actual realities that they can touch, feel, smell, and see.

You can do the some of the same things with your own child at home, the first two projects are a fun and great way to teach children the value of hard work. See the projects don't have to have perfect results, they just need results.

Did this post engage you? Did it make you start thinking of creating some fun project with your own child? Or maybe it just showed you how fun and easy it is to re-purpose old pieces of furniture?! ~Trish Whitsell


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