I was a lazy kid.
No really. If there was a way to avoid work around my house, I’d find it. And it wasn’t because I had lazy parents, mind you. My father was an old school, country farm hand that found satisfaction in working hard and putting in a full day; Morning to night, Monday to Sunday. Of course, in his day, if you didn’t work, things didn’t get done. And, if things didn’t get done, the quality of life and the food they ate was at stake.
Same with my mom. She grew up with the same standards. I remember, when I was young and my dad was off earning a living as a crane operator in Chattanooga, Tennessee (among other places). I don’t ever remember seeing her lounge around the house; Ever! She was kinetic; always busy with some job around the house. She became the epitome of the 20th century housewife. She did dishes, laundry, dusted, moped; the whole package. And, when she wasn’t doing the menial jobs of the day, she busied herself about sewing the clothes we wore. I wore the ‘Mom Made’ brand till I hit middle school (but that’s another story).
So, in short, my parents were industrious people.
So what happened to me?
I grew up in suburbia. So much different that the childhood of my parents. There were no gardens (most of the time) and no animals to learn to tend to. We were a victim of the ‘progress’ of the times. There was less work to do. But it didn’t stop my dad from finding a million things to do once he got home from WORK. No, there was no jumping in the easy chair and poppin’ a brewsky, although he would pop one now and then. It was like he wouldn’t stay still. I would be home from a ‘hard’ day at school thinking it was lazy time and he would pull me out to work on the car or the yard.
And then we moved back to their home county of RHEA; just north of Chattanooga. My great-grand mother had just died and my parents got a deal on her house. So we moved from suburbia to the ‘sticks’. No, not really. We still lived in ‘town’. But Spring City was a far cry to the bustle of Chattanooga. I think there were two lights in town and the most exciting thing that happened (besides football…more later) was the occasional train to break the monotony.
But I digress.
The point was that we moved into a home that needed a LOT of work. I mean a LOT. It was a project that, I think, purely excited my father. I may be wrong, but he took to it like it was a long lost passion. Or maybe it was my lazy nature talking. Suddenly, everyday after school, every Saturday morning, the day was interrupted with the sound of hammers, saws and the beckoning of my parents telling me it was time to get to WORK. I wasn’t enthused about it, to say the least.
But I didn’t get it from my parents. That’s the point. Was it the curse of suburban living? Or was I just a weird kid? (Well, I was..more later) Or maybe I was given slack as I was growing up and I ran with it. Not to get to deep with you here, but maybe it was something in the nature of all men.
I am a firm believer in Man being created in the image of God. And part of that image is an industrious nature. God doesn’t sit still. He is not lazy. He always had things to do and he never shirks them. In fact, the first thing he gave man after creation was a job. He set him to work the garden (although working it then was a whole lot easier than it is now). SO Mankind was created with a work ethic.
Therefore, the lazy nature your kids have is natural. Doesn’t mean you should nurture it, by any means. It’s natural because it’s part of our fallen nature. It’s like a weed. If you let it grow, it will. So we, as humans, have to fight the element of apathy that plagues our nature. And so did I.
Despite my best efforts, I had a work ethic instilled in me that benefits me to this day. And, every time I saw that lazy gene raise its ugly head in my boys, I recognized that child because I was that child. And, I have to confess, I was not as able a teacher to my boys as my parents were to me. I let the weed grow a bit too far. The good news is that life sometimes does the teaching for us. As with my boys, it taught them if they wanted to survive on their own and supply for the woman they loved, they better learn to, at least, like work. And, not just like it, but get good at it.
Let this be a warning to them and to all who have children. Pull the weed of laziness up as fast as it springs up. Keep your kids busy. Idle hands are the devil’s play things they say. And they’re right. Now, it’s not just creating a ‘busy life’. That has dangers in it also. No, just teach your children the benefit of good ole fashion work. And they will appreciate you in days to come.