Dave Says: Teaching the value of work

Published 11:26 am Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Dear Dave,

What are your views on teaching children good work habits? Many of our friends don’t require their kids to help out or work around the house, but we both strongly feel that instilling a strong work ethic early in life is one of the best things you can do as a parent for your children.

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– Deshay

Dear Deshay,

I’m so glad you both feel that way. Our culture has made many great advances to ensure the happiness and well-being of children. But too many parents today are so centered on what their children want that they have lost perspective on what their children need.

Perspective, or looking at life over time, demands that you teach children to work. Teaching a child to work is not child abuse. We teach them to work not for our benefit, but because it gives them dignity in a job well done today and the tools and character to win as adults in the future.

In my mind, children should be taught to work just like you’d teach them to bathe or brush their teeth—as a necessary life skill. An adult who has no clue how to tackle a job and finish it with pride is every bit as debilitated as an adult with body odor or green teeth. If your child graduates from high school, and his or her only skill set consists of playing video games, eating fast food and believing the world owes them something, you’ve set up your child to fail.

Another benefit of teaching a child the wonder of work is they may grow to lose a little respect for those who refuse to work. I’m not talking about folks who lost jobs due to unforeseen circumstances and are trying to get back on their feet, or someone who genuinely cannot work. I’m talking about folks who refuse to look for, or accept, gainful employment.

My wife and I noticed that our kids, as they grew older, didn’t pursue relationships with people who didn’t understand the value of work and demonstrate the character traits of mature, hardworking people. And that was wonderful news to us!

— Dave

* Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 18 million listeners each week. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.