The value of hard work

Published by Lori Pickert on December 17, 2008 at 03:19 PM

I learned the value of hard work by working hard. — Margaret Mead


Comment by steph on December 17, 2008 at 07:51 PM

This is perhaps the biggest goal of mine yet: instilling a good work ethic and a value on hard work. This is the single most important trait a person can have, next to kindness. Its the blueprint for community, when paired with a passion for solving problems.

Comment by Lori Pickert on December 17, 2008 at 09:15 PM

nicely said, steph. my certainty is that in order to teach children to value hard work, we have to value what they want to work hard *on*. they can then absorb all the authentic lessons about hard work --

-- that it can be enjoyable
-- that it can be very difficult
-- that it can be immensely rewarding
-- that sometimes it requires you to ask for help

and etc. and etc.

then they can really take those lessons forward as they grow into adults, and apply them.

Comment by Teri on December 17, 2008 at 09:22 PM

:^) Reading this made me feel good.

Comment by steph on December 17, 2008 at 09:43 PM


but how do I learn to value the fact that Ford wants to work hard on evolving his creatures in the video game "Spore?" Or how hard he wants to work on earning an Xbox 360? ;)

I'm having a hard, hard time letting go of my own assumptions. This is a huge tide to fight.
How are you dealing with it?


Comment by Lori Pickert on December 17, 2008 at 11:45 PM

thank you, teri ;^)

steph, i think you DO have to learn to value ford’s work on spore and his wanting to earn an xbox! this is going to sound incredibly corny, but try writing down your feelings about those things (e.g., “video games are a waste of time”) and then purposefully try to list the positives (e.g., “ford is being very persistent .. he is working really hard .. he has mastered a very complex game .. he takes time to explain what he’s doing to others” .. etc.).

i try to own up to my own prejudices (reading is better than video games) and then chill and play devil’s advocate .. because a lot of my work is urging parents and teachers to rethink their assumptions, i walk through it myself. “i would rather he read a challenging book than play a computer game” .. but the game is very complex and challenging, and includes a lot of reading. and he does read a lot anyway. “i think he is spending way too much time playing that game” .. but he is really intensely interested right now and he hardly played at all last week, so really, averaged out, he’s not spending too much time on it, plus he is really proud of having made it to this challenging level and it is really engaging him intellectually. and etc.

if you think of that work ethic you want to instill, you can’t overlook the fact that with video or computer games, often a child will spend hours slogging through boring tasks to build up to a level s/he wants to achieve .. some strategy games really reinforce the idea that you have to do a lot of work in order to achieve something you want.

what are you struggling with the most?

Comment by Sally on December 18, 2008 at 06:05 PM

This is great stuff. I can already see the changes in my children since I started incorporating less instructing and more guidance into their life.

Comment by Lori Pickert on December 18, 2008 at 07:17 PM

sally, that’s wonderful -- i’m so glad! :^)

Comment by steph on December 19, 2008 at 03:36 PM

Lori, sorry, my mail won't send so here's my late response to your question:

What Is struggle with the most is my inner comparisons: Ford's brother-in-law is an avid gamer who lives with us as pretty much a consumer, unless we ask for babysitting. He's 19 and either plays games or sleeps. I'm afraid this kind of role model, though witty and charming, is kindling my dismissive response to video games. Already I come from a sheltered home where we had no real tv, much less video game exposure till we were 10 to 12 (I can't remember), so all the early exposure Ford and Chas has leaves me struggling for true north; I just don't know what kind of ramifications this will have. But seeing them watch their uncle play constantly--that's becoming a part of their home landscape. If their uncle had a regular job or took out the trash, yadayada, my opinion might balance! :)

I also struggle with the desire to have Ford outside more, playing eithr independently or with other children, in real life. I know this is better for his eyes, his health, his nurturing spirit. He just has to recenter and rediscover this and, when involved outside, he indeed finds it. But right now, our home environment is skewed by the tractor pull of the internet and game monitor between me, my BIL and Damon. I want the kids to spend at least their youngest years out of doors; this time is formative and when they grow older, I'd like daydreams to consist of falling leaves and hours building outdoor forts. I want the outdoors to be home base, center. I want that very badly.

I'm totally projecting on them. I can't help it!

However--Did you see his last blog post on You can't kill a good Spore obsession!

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