The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. Genesis 2:15
I don't know about you but one of the challenges that we consistently face as parents is the idea that if something is hard, you shouldn't have to do it. I mean who has ever heard those fateful, whiney words, "But it's hard" after having asked a child to do something that needs to be done - a math problem, tying a shoe, untying a shoe, cleaning up a room, you name it. I'm sure we can all say, "Amen."
If we're honest though we have to admit that even as adults we are apt to gripe and complain about that dreaded, four-letter word...work. It may be a result of our culture and the idea that we're just "working for the weekend," or it may simply be written into our sinful nature, but one way or another we tend to see work as a bad thing. If we are feeling particularly spiritual we might even blame work on the Fall and ensuing curse in Genesis 3, thinking that it was all fun, games, pina coladas and hammocks by the river before that stupid snake ruined everything. If so, we would be wrong.
Work, you see, is actually good, right, biblical, and part of God's design for the human race. In fact, working the garden of Eden was the first thing that Adam was supposed to do after he was created. He was to cultivate and guard the garden. To be sure, the nature of work would be forever changed after the Fall, but the idea of it is, and always has been, good.
As parents this is one of the easiest things we can model for our children because unless we are independently wealthy, we are required to work to generate income and resources for the well-being of our family. This, I believe, is also one of the most important areas that we need to model godliness for our kids. For them work may mean taking out the trash or doing the dishes. Their work also includes their schooling. As students, part of their job is to...be a student and learn. It isn't punishment, it isn't just so they can get a good job later on in life, it isn't because Mom and Dad and Teacher want to see them suffer. It is because at their age school is the training ground for working to the glory of God for the rest of their lives. School is one of the places where young people have the opportunity to develop the perseverance to do things they don't necessarily want to do.
My challenge this week is to begin to see work, not as necessary drudgery, but as a God-given mandate that brings him glory when we do it well. Furthermore, help your kids to see work as a good thing, not a four-letter word to be avoided at all costs. That is the world's attitude all too often and we are called to be different. As a side benefit, when a generation of worldly people grows up to be a bunch of lazy bums there will be unlimited opportunity for God's people to step in and take advantage .
Soli Deo Gloria,