Work ethic is “the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward.” Work ethic is “caught” and “taught,” and is very rewarding on many levels. As parents, we must constantly work to cultivate a work ethic in our children no matter their age.
Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work.Proverbs 21:25 (NLT)
Do our children have age appropriate responsibilities or do we do things for them that they can do for themselves? Sometimes that is “easier” on us and we take the path of least resistance? If they don’t learn work ethic in the home and while under the influence of the home, we are setting them up to fail. We must listen to ourselves honestly to hear the foolish excuses we make for our children. Their boredom proclamations are their responsibility, not ours.
Our teens need to experience getting up early and laboring to earn their spending money. It is an intangible life teaching experience. Hard work with hourly pay is a priceless education.
 Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.  A wise youth harvests in the summer, but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace.Proverbs 10:4-5 (NLT)
By way of an illustration, let’s imagine your child is standing on the side of a body of water and needs to get to the other side in order to proceed on their life journey. Not taking that step is giving up the valuable experience of wading through the water and the experience that waits on the other side. Having never crossed over before, the most natural tendency is to maintain status quo. But remember, this same opportunity for this experience at this time may never come again. A parent then comes alongside them and is willing to walk with them, help them when they slip and fall, and teach them the best response to what this journey brings forth.
It is imperative that we keep them moving forward and that we are there to help them navigate. They must be taught how to respect a boss who is difficult, or how to do what they are told, even if it seems unnecessary. Children working while still influenced by our guidance and counsel will benefit greatly as they navigate life. We must work alongside them to teach them how to do a job and do it well, which will bring great internal satisfaction that laziness never produces. This also puts them in a position to be recognized for “good” things and to be encouraged to continue to do well.
Parents must insist that their children earn some of their way early in life and to be responsible. You may have to drive them and be inconvenienced. It may seem easier to give them a twenty dollar bill than to have them earn it. All too often in our culture today, parents are so preoccupied with life that our children grow up with little experience with the outside world in regards to work and labor. Ultimately as a result, a day’s labor becomes a strange work, rather than an expected phenomenon.
Proverbs 22:6 (NLT): Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.