I do not have any children so you may think I don’t have anything worth listening to. The thing is, for 7 years I was in the position of managing some of Mama's little darlings in what was, for many of them, their first job. So I saw up close and personal the results of modern American child rearing. It was rarely pretty.
Most kids, as they first get out into the world, have no sense of cause and effect. They have no idea that they should ever put the group ahead of themselves. They don't know how to deal with adversity because they've never been allowed to experience it before. They don't know what work is, have no sense of responsibility, and don't acknowledge any absolutes. AND THESE ARE THE GOOD KIDS!
Good parents should raise their children to succeed in life, and if they cannot hold down a job, they won’t. Period. So here are some suggestions from the boss they might work for someday, who is probably a lot like most bosses.
1) Don't protect your kids from their mistakes. If they goof up, allow them to feel the pain it causes. Point out the relationship between their actions and the consequences. When it’s their fault, they need to own it, not blame someone else.
2) Don't protect your kids from life. I once was talking to one of my employees and said, "Life isn't fair." She looked at me strangely and said, "Yes it is, or it always has been to me." All I could do was stare at her with my mouth hanging open and think "Oh, you poor girl!" She had no defenses built up. When something unfair happens to her, which it will, she will have no idea how to handle it. She'll likely fall apart. Inoculate your children against life by letting them see what goes on and showing them how to handle it.
3) Teach your children that they aren't the most important thing in the world. (I know, they are the most important thing to you, but if you aren't careful you'll teach them to act as if they are the world's royalty.) When I was growing up I didn't always get what I wanted, not always because it was a bad thing or because my parents couldn't afford it, but because it was my brother's turn to choose or Dad or Mom wanted to do something different. We were also taught to consider how our actions affected others. There was no quicker way to anger Dad than to be noisy when Mom was napping. We were taught to think of others.
4) Teach your children what work is. If you live in town, this may be harder – no, I don't consider taking the trash out twice a week and mowing a quarter acre lawn on a riding mower to be work -- but figure something out. I had good kids as employees who wanted to be good employees, but just didn't know how to work: how to stick with a job, how to see what needed to be done and do it, how to stay busy. There's an old phrase that really needs to be reintroduced to America's youth: "An honest day's work for an honest day's pay". Most kids today think that clocking in on time, working while the boss is watching, and talking to their friends the rest of the time is "work". The company isn't paying them to stand around, and one day they may find out the hard way.
5) While there are some gray areas, some things are right and some are wrong. Even modern psychology tells us that children are happier with boundaries—it makes them feel secure. The same fence that keeps them in, keeps the bad things out. So teach them some absolute guidelines. Best place to start: your Bible.
Wow, I've become a cranky old man.