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When Working Hard Has to be Self Discovered

As many of you know by now, I have been a stay at home dad for a long time(over 20 years). That has allowed me many years to be home with my kids and teach them many things. I have taught them the importance of doing well in school. I have taught them how to be respectful of others. I have taught them to stand up for themselves and always believe in themselves. Luckily for me, I have an amazing wife that has taught them as many if not more things than I have. I will be honest here, I have my faults and my work ethic hasn’t always been my greatest strength.

This deficiency had been passed on to my kids from observing me on a daily basis. How does that line go? “Do as I say not as I do.” Well they had me figured out. If they decided not to work and do something I had asked, I would help them or just do it myself. I’m not proud to say it but I had enabled my kids to get out of work whenever they wanted with no consequence. This has led to more than one conversation with my wife and the results for me were never good. The kids had me figured out and I got what I deserved.

We have good kids. They all had friends. They all got good grades. They all went to church. They were mostly respectful of us as parents. One of the only things they were not great at was their work ethic. As they have grown and now 3 have left the house, I am amazed all they have learned about work ethic on their own without the direct action of me, the stay at home dad!

Earlier this week, I went to get my haircut. I have been going there for years, in fact, I got Number 3 his first job there as a Coordinator. He was responsible for everything other than the actual hair cut. He washed towels, cleaned equipment, swept up hair, and most importantly, helped customers when they walked into the store. I was very worried about him, as I was with the others, because of my failure to teach them how to work. My stylist said something that took me by surprise. She said “I wish we had more Coordinators like your son. He always works hard and needs very little direction. He is really missed since he left for college.” I started laughing because I thought she was joking. She wasn’t. She went on to tell me how he was so dedicated and respectful when he was there. I just sat there. Despite my best laid plans of teaching him to be a lazy dude, he figured it out on his own.

As I left the store and sat in my car I began reflecting that maybe I didn’t screw up my kids as much as I thought I did when it comes to working hard. Number 3 isn’t just surviving on the road with The Young Americans, she is thriving as she continuously looks to take on more responsibility and leadership within her cast. Whether it’s helping backstage when she doesn’t have to, to being in charge of all costumes for all cast members to leading when others won’t. Her director recently told her how hard she always works and that he has noticed. Number 4 is a Dance Captain for his show choir. His director told me how he has really grown into his roll and how he has the respect of all the boys because of how hard he works. And last but not least, Number 1. I have seen her work ethic take off with her starting her first full time job as a teacher. She has gotten advice from many around her that conflicts with her own work ethic. Some have said to take it easy to not work so hard that it isn’t worth it. She will have none of that. She wants only the best for her kids and isn’t satisfied with just being an ok teacher.

As I said before, I am so glad that I have an amazing wife that has always demonstrated an awesome work ethic. She is never satisfied with being good enough. She always puts 100% effort into everything she does. I guess as much as my kids watched me over the years, they were watching her as well. That is what makes us such a great team. I am good at some things that may be a deficiency for her and vice versa. In this Zag Zig life, I like to be lazy but am glad the rest of my family knows better.

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