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Instruction Manual for Kids:: Contentedness

This is actually a continuation of ‘Work is well… Work…’ But the title would be waaay too long to actually say ‘Instruction Manual for Kids:: Work….is Well… Work…. (Part 2)’ – So, you get the short version: ‘Contentedness’

In part one, I stressed the concept of ‘not complaining about work, because it’s ‘work’ – and how adults who complain about work were at one time kids who complained, and that character trait was never corrected or matured.  This week I want to continue in that vein and confront the reason kids complain.

Okay, before we delve into this line of reasoning I want to shed light on a secret mystery of why kids (and adults) complain about ‘work’ [put on your Captain Obvious cape, this one is a doozy] :: People Complain about things they don’t like.  I know, I know, your life has just changed and you can barely continue reading because the world now makes complete sense and all of your “wonder why’s” are beckoning for resolution.

Yes, it’s true.  We complain about the things we don’t like.  Well, let’s take that a step backwards.  Why don’t we like it?  Why don’t our kids like it?  Is it because they aren’t content in doing things they don’t like?  Is it because we, as their parents, have fostered an environment so focused on encouraging ‘positive reinforcement’ that when chores aren’t ‘fun’ they become a battle?

We could summon up Pavlov and debate philosophies and schedules of reinforcement.  While all of that is fine and dandy, behind behavior is attitude.  Behind attitude is correct perspective. And, behind correct perspective is choice.  As the parent your job is to instruct and teach your child’s perspective, attitude, and actions.  And, to strongly encourage choice along every step – enter the breaking of the WILL.

At the root of all of this, the part of the ‘will’ that needs to break within every person is the part that says ‘I’m only obligated do the things I enjoy doing’ – this is what validates the ‘right’ to complain about things that we don’t like.  Your job as the parent isn’t to provoke a blind obedience to societal obligations and get them to become disgruntled workhorses for the good of humanity.  Your job is to educate and train them to see the value their work produces, and teach them to find the pride in a stellar work ethic.

All of that is summed up in ‘Contentedness’.  Your child must be taught how to be content with doing a job for the sake of the fact that it’s work, and the job must get done…

If you never teach them the benefit of being content within the framework of ‘bucking up and getting the job done’ then you are doing a huge disservice and training them to have a discontented work ethic.  By teaching them proper perspective and attitude along the road of obedience you are actually equipping them to complete tasks from a place of emotional surplus and pride, not exhaustion and complaining.  You teach them to actually like accomplishment and work, and diffuse the arguments which are brought on by complaining when something is asked of them that they don’t like….

What are some ways you have changed your child’s perspective in a given situation?


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