Rebecca Hagelin

We live in a culture that is all about “me, me, me.” Take a stroll through the mall on any given day and you will see children whining when they can’t have the latest toy or video game, while discouraged parents shrug their shoulders and give in. Hang around any retail store and it may seem like the “Gimme" generation is running the show. You hear an “I want this” and the register replies with a hearty “ch-ching!"

Overindulging children instead of teaching them the value of earning what they receive is a big problem. It creates an unrealistic perception of life, turns our sons and daughters into "brats" and even weakens our nation and economy in the long-run. If our children don’t learn the meaning of earning through practical and real experience as children, adulthood will hit them like a slap in the face. They will feel like they were thrown into the pool before they learned how to swim. Some will drown - and some will cling to others and cause the great swimmers who feed the economy to be bogged down and maybe even drown too. Creating a sense of entitlement ruins individuals, and if we as a society create too many of them, the nation can come to ruin too.

Childhood, while a time of great joy and innocence, is also a time to plunk children in the shallow end and teach them how to swim basic strokes. That way, when they get to the “deep end’ of adulthood, they are strong swimmers, and able to handle turbulent waters or whatever obstacles may come their way.

Helping children learn the value of earning provides real life skills and gives them a deep sense of satisfaction. As humans, we were created to work. We love to see the fruits of our labors, whether that is a life accomplishment like building a company or everyday tasks like finishing a project around the house. We were not created to lie around slothfully. Perpetual laziness creates unhappiness every time. Working toward a goal and feeling pride in our efforts is a huge motivator - and we must continually allow our children experience it or we are unwittingly denying them much happiness. Children who work hard and feel the satisfaction that comes with completing that work and earning its reward will have a deeper sense of self-worth and capability than children who are merely given the things they desire.

We shouldn’t treat our kids’ desires as bad things. Instead, our task is to teach our children the link between their desire to have privileges and possessions with strong work ethic.

Rebecca Hagelin

Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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