As the summer approaches, opportunities for relaxing become a part of our family’s schedule. It’s important that we gear up to raise grateful and motivated children. While relaxing is a necessary part of life, many people miss the point and think that relaxing is the goal of life.
Oftentimes, people who mistakenly believe it’s the goal wonder why they are miserable, when, in fact, their misery is caused by them not realizing that they were designed to work, and their soul is craving that fulfillment.
Let’s contemplate two imaginary scenarios and decide which one is more fulfilling. In the first scenario, a mother notices that one of her children needs help socializing. She notices that while her daughter’s strong points are math and language arts, socializing is very difficult for her. The same day, Mom hears that she won a three-month vacation to an island where she will be served around the clock, and will not have to lift a finger to make anything happen. She has only to make a request, and servants will quickly fulfill her every desire. The mother accepts the gift, and does nothing for three entire months.
In the second scenario, a mother also notices that one of her children needs help socializing. She notices that while her daughter’s strong points are math and language arts, socializing is very difficult for her. But this mother takes on the challenge of doing whatever it takes to help her daughter feel successful with her friends. This mother researches, makes phone calls, reads books, interviews therapists, and ultimately decides that she needs to sit with her daughter daily to teach her certain social skills. But according to her research, she learned how important it is that her daughter should not feel that her mother is trying to fix her. This is quite a challenge, because our children only receive what we have to teach them if they truly believe that we keep our eye on the greatness within them. After several months, this mother notices that her daughter is beginning to be more successful with her friends. She acquired several conversational skills that made a huge difference in her life.
Now which mother would be more fulfilled by the end of the three months? Clearly the mother who invested in her child and saw that she was working hard to build another human being. Why is it that we would feel much more fulfillment in the second scenario? Because there the mother is doing what she was designed for. A car was designed to drive, a phone was designed for communication, and one of the things that a human being was designed for was to build other human beings.
In the first scenario, the mother may have experienced great comfort and the feeling of being pampered. But soon enough, emptiness sets in when a person is not doing what they were designed for. So, if we would like to raise children who are highly motivated, who love to work hard and grow, we need to model that we are highly motivated and excited about our work in life. (We are not talking about overworking.)
Next time you drive your children somewhere or buy them something, let them know how enjoyable it is for you. Do not do this with the intention of having your children be grateful. Do it and say it just because it’s true, and because you really do love giving and working hard. After you do it a few times, make it a habit, and watch your children follow your lead, as always.
Breaks and vacations from hard work are important. They help us keep going. But let’s not get lost in thinking it’s a goal in and of itself. It’s a fun means to help us reach our goals. Never be afraid to show your children that hard work is awesome!