Just for Dads ~ April 2021
by Ward Williams
Executive director, Vineyard Family Services
I started my first official job as busboy at a condominium restaurant on Padre Island in the spring of my eighth-grade school year. After receiving my first paycheck, I went directly to Sunrise Mall and bought a $52 pair of Girbaud jeans and got a fancy mall haircut at Regis Salon, which I believed would automatically elevate me to big man on campus.
It was so rewarding to splurge on myself after some hard work, even if the new haircut and fancy jeans did not change my social standing. When asked what my greatest accomplishment in the workplace would be, I always share I sold $2,500 worth of Kinney Shoes and accessories in a single shift when I was 18, which is an amazing feat.
For those of you who don’t remember Kinney Shoes, they sold generic Keds, generic Eastlands, generic Nike, and paint-them-yourself wedding shoes. My mom, through hard work and determination, provided for her five children without financial support from others. The value of hard work was demonstrated to me my entire life.
My wife is an amazingly talented and hardworking individual, and hard work is a trait and value we desired to pass along to our children. I am very grateful for the many examples of hardworking men and women in my life and firmly believe hard work is a determining factor in upward financial mobility.
There are a couple of ways that we can help our children develop a strong work ethic. The first is to surround them and let them see people who work hard. Up until the early 1900s, children usually observed and participated in hard work with their parents. Children worked on farms, helped around the house, learned a trade, and watched day-to-day problem solving.
Today, our hard work is done outside of our kids’ view. We spend hours at the office and get home exhausted with leftovers to give them. Take time to accomplish tasks or projects with your family.
The second way to give them opportunities to reach goals is to be good at something. Help your children to find their passion and become passionate about doing it. In our family, our kids love dance, band, and theatre. They all have learned to work hard to become better in their trade. When you are passionate about something, you are often self-motivated, and you seek ways to become better.
The third way is to be part of a team, group, or organization where they compete or work toward a common cause. Working on a team toward a common cause, you learn through observing others, by doing work alongside others, and from others’ victories and mistakes. There is a motivation that comes from having others depend on you and you depending on others that often pushes us beyond what we can do by ourselves.
Think about one of my favorite Proverbs. In Proverbs 14:23, it says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Work to build a profit in your life, not only a financial profit, but in your relationships and all areas of your life.
Ward Williams is the founder and executive director of Vineyard Family Services. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.