Smarts and Hard Work

May 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Hally Franz –

There is a large Amish community about 45 minutes from my home, and my family and some friends spent a day there recently. It was fascinating to see examples of Amish craftsmanship and ingenuity within their nearly self-sustaining culture. While I am not a scholar of the Amish lifestyle and faith, it is evident that hard work is valued greatly among this group of people. We observed children helping at shops and in gardens, learning everyday skills important to both the family and community. Each family member, other than the very young, holds an important responsibility within the workings of the home. Each is relied upon to ensure success of the whole. I have to wonder if a culture that largely rejects modern ideas and conveniences of the outside world has much appreciation for the current expression “work smarter, not harder.”

On the other hand, we “English” seem always to be seeking new ways to make work and life easier. Whether it is finding the perfect tool for a tricky culinary job or subscribing to the fastest internet provider, we desire methods for increased ease and efficiency. However, our most basic appliances, machinery and comforts are far beyond what is found at an Amish home or farm.

I suppose this is not wrong, but I do question how it impacts our children. We want to raise hard-working young people, but is it possible we are making that job increasingly difficult to do?
While they might not see it as such, there is a considerable degree of hardship and suffering associate with the hard work that the Amish do in their daily lives. And, if those types of challenges build character, are we depriving our children of invaluable work experiences?

Perhaps our parenting challenge then is this: How can we prepare our children for a life that includes service and hard work, a life where things are not and should not always be easy? We can start by requiring kids to participate daily in family chores. They can be given household tasks that are dirty and gross; they still need to be done. We can make changes like having our children rake leaves rather than blow them. We can assign push-mowing instead of the more comfortable riding mower.

Where child-rearing is concerned, it is very likely smarter to make the work harder.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, grant me the wisdom to raise my children well. Help me set high expectations for them, allowing them the opportunity to learn from challenges and hard work, and resisting the urge to always make life easier.

“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6 NIV).

About Hally Franz

Hally Franz writes about her observations on family and faith, parenting and people. She is a former high school guidance counselor, turned stay-at-home mom. Hally and husband Tim will celebrate twenty years of marriage this year, and have two teens. She is a 4-H leader and band mom, serves as her church secretary and as a Bible class teacher. Hally enjoys traveling with her family and participating in monthly book club meetings with her pals.
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