We value hard work and it’s something we try to teach our kids. But whenever we try to get them to buckle down to heavy duty schoolwork or chores, all we seem to get is bitching and moaning.
We’ve long felt that what was needed was a lesson in good hard physical labor, so I mentioned our dilemma to a friend in the process of clearing his new property. It happened that Ben had just cut back a Brazilian pepper hedge, had a huge pile of trimmings, and had rented a wood chipper for the weekend. He was estimating about 8 hours of work for he and Paul, with one of them on the chipper and the other hauling branches. We decided it would be a great opportunity for the kids to help out and get a taste of real work.
It took one hour. I worked the pile, separating braches. The four kids hauled branches from the pile to the chipper. Ben fed the chipper non-stop, and Paul prepped the bigger branches with a chainsaw.
The kids performed well beyond my expectations. While I had planned for the work to last a little bit longer, they went at it with such dedication and teamwork that I couldn’t be anything but pleased. There was no whining, no complaining, no ass-dragging.
I’d arranged for Tanya to pick us up after three hours, so we had a little time to kill. While we were waiting, Ben taught the boys to operate the backhoe and let them use it to dig a big hole. They were in boy-heaven.