My Facebook friend, Dave Armond, reminds us that children need to be taught that tenaciScreen shot 2010-09-14 at 5.32.39 PMty is an amazing tool and character quality essential for all kinds of satisfying successes.  Correspondingly, work ethic attitudes or the Effort Skill, as I am coining it here, is a tool that, like the hammer, can persuade a lot of nails to create amazing structures.  Elbow grease = Effort Skill.

How do we teach Tenacity Skills and Effort Skills to children? Here is one key.  First, at the very youngest age you can teach your child (around 1.5 years–yep), begin to do all the chores around the house and out of the home together with a lot of joy, laughter, song, dance, conversation, silliness and satisfaction shared.  These emotional connections while chores are done clicks in our human brains that effort can coalesce with social joys and pleasurable moments.  Don’t command, order or disrespectfully demean or shame because these verbalizations shut the heart and mind down.  These yuke! verbalizations are how you can create a rebellious, uncooperative human who is fighting you to gain some self-respect.  Instead, share the chores and your joie de vivre.  TEAM UP.  CREATE and CLEAN together.

EFFORT produces emotional satisfactions socially.

Yes, it is harder to get the work done; but leaving your child in front of the TV or devices while you work your Bu** off before they lose interest, is a complete losing cycle.  Your child learns that you work while they veg, and that this is the way life should be!!!!   Your child learns by what he/she DOES not by what she/he WATCHES you do.  This is a crucial truth in the era where parents want to give all they can so their child’s life can be happy (WRONG).

Happiness is NOT the road to Nirvana, meaningfulness is.

Efforts leading to successful outcomes produces profound sense of self-worth and real value added, which cultivates deep personal meaningfulness.

We have more of a sense of meaningfulness when we know that we are 1) contributing, 2) appreciated for our REAL efforts, 3) able to create, to do, and to finish something satisfactorily, and 4) applying efforts and tenacity which actually make a difference in our own worlds.  All this starts in the Toddler phase or slightly earlier and definitely expands, and expands as you wave at the door as they leave as capable adults.  If you have a teenager, and never taught them these Effort Skills, begin now…or sadly you have crippled your burgeoning adult child.  (Yikes, I hate those parent-guilt pangs!)

Entitlements are foul, moldy, plaque producing, bacterial infestations which darken the arteries of feeling “proud” of one’s self.  Entitlements are the artificial sugars made from the death preservative formaldehyde.  IT KILLS OUR KID’s DRIVES, SELF-ESTEEM and SUCCESS TOOLS.  Your child is not entitled to you doing their homework, washing their clothes or dishes, changing their bed sheets, or cooking their meals etc. but they do need to learn to share the team’s chores and create a joy around those tasks which connect you and them emotionally with the wonderful feelings of a well functioning team where all can get the credit for jobs well shared.