What dad doesn't want his Son to grow up with a strong work ethic, the ability to take on huge tasks and accomplish them, and understand the dignity of work.
The problem that many fathers have today, and their sons have, is the fact that many people do not know what hard work is any more. Technology has made everything easy, quick, and available with little effort. We have created a society and generation of children, who many have now become adults, that have never experienced hard work and the benefits of such. Many children when asked to do simple chores, will not only need repeated reminders, but will only due the minimum so they can get back to their X-Boxes, Computers, and Texting.
So just how does a father instill those values, character traits, and behaviors that come along with hard work?
I believe that it is the obligation to begin early and model for your son what a man can accomplish. He should plan and accomplish projects, incorporating the help of the child, and most importantly, work hard himself, teaching in actions more than words, what hard work is and what it provides.
I can remember taking Sean to Guatemala a few years ago to work hard with the local people. They understand what hard work is, they do it everyday and are grateful for the work. They understand that work means food for their family. That work brings dignity to a man, and work done well provides a purpose in life and brings honor.
On this particular day in Guatemala, it was our chore to spend the day, the whole day, breaking rocks into smaller rocks to be used in cement. Yes, we hammered rocks all day, from large boulders, into small pebbles, that could be used for building.
Yes - by the end of the day we were exhausted, but we felt good. And Sean experienced a day working hard along side his father and 2 uncles doing the same thing without a complaint. There was honor and dignity in accepting a Job and striving to do our very best to complete it, no matter how large it appeared.
What really makes a "Man" isn't necessarily what he looks like on the outside, but rather who he is on the inside.
I have always admired ranchers and farmers. They know how to work, their lives demand that they work hard, take care of their land and animals, especially since it is their lively-hood. But it is much more than that.
I have never met a man who is also a rancher or farmer, that isn't humble, a hard worker, honest, and straightforward. I believe it has a lot to do with their lives and Hard Work. They are often presented with problems that seem beyond them, but they persevere. Their hard work provides for their families. Life for them is usually at a pace that allows for quiet time, inner reflection, and allows God's voice to be heard.
We are blessed to have friends, Lori and Marc Duivenvoorden, who own a small dairy farm. They have allowed Sean to begin working with them on the farm.
As you can imagine, there is a lot of work to be done of a Family Farm. Work that most of the youth of today have never and will never see. They have been robbed of the opportunity and appreciation of Hard Work.
Sean is experiencing first hand what virtues "Hard Work" develops and instills into the depths of a man. Yes he is learning new skills, skills beyond what I know, but more importantly, he is developing his character.
Yes we can pray for our children, but as fathers, we must do more than pray, we have an obligation to raise our Son's with an understanding of the dignity of work. With the understanding that we are not entitled to be taken care of, but rather we are to work hard with the opportunities given to us from God, and to be thankful for what God will allow us to accomplish.
We are to model what it is to be a man for our sons, showing them through our actions the value and dignity of work. We are to show them how to work, how to work hard, how to enjoy work, and how to appreciate the fruits of our efforts. It isn't always what is accomplished, but how it is accomplished that often defines a true man. As I have said before, we are living in a society where most men have either never been taught, or have forgot the true character of manhood.
Before we know it, they (our sons) will be grown and already beyond those teachable moments.
It will be then that we will have to ask ourselves, "Did I fulfill my obligation, my obligation from God, to teach and prepare my Son to be a Godly Man, a Man who truly appreciates having the ability to work, a Man who uses his abilities and strength to his fullest, thankful for his accomplishments, humbled by his failures, but perseveres and gets the job done, and all because he was show the way by the actions of his father during his formative years.
The most important task we have in life (Fathers), is to teach and raise our children to be strong and faithful Christians with irreproachable character and virtue, instilling in them the knowledge, tools, and skills, to fulfill their ultimate calling in life: To Know Him, Love Him, and Serve Him, so that they can be with Him in this world, and with Him for all eternity in the next.