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Can a Parent teach Hard-work?

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If I have learnt anything in all my years of professional experience is that there is only one formula for success - HARDWORK. The one thing I would want to pass on to my children is that find your purpose, the thing that makes your heart sing, and be successful at it. Be successful enough that you can leave a legacy or pass it on to help others in a meaningful way. Teaching children to focus and work hard can be a challenging task.

Our picket fence needed a paint job and when we proposed to our daughter, Aaliya, that this could be a fun family project, she was more excited than we imagined. We informed her that it would require a lot of work and that she had to be involved in all the steps. Aaliya instantly agreed and I was delighted. We matched the colour on the shade card, ordered the paint, brushes and thinner.

The following Sunday we started with the cleaning process before we could apply the paint. We used a metal brush, sand paper and metal strips to scrape of dirt, spider webs and old paint. It took us a few hours each day for the next three days to scrape off most of the stuff. Aaliya was getting impatient and wanted to start the painting soon. The scraping itself was a huge workout.

The next weekend we started painting the fence. We mixed the oil paint with some thinner and started the paint application. It was a hot Sunday morning and after 30 minutes I was beginning to get dehydrated and tired. I decided to take a water break. Aaliya looked at me and said, “Mummy you are tired already? Then what about the hard-work?” My kind husband came to my rescue, saying that he would help us and offered me a break. I had a cool drink of water, ate some nuts and dried mango strips and decided to join the painting crew again. Aaliya didn’t give up until the first coat was completed. We let the first coat dry and called it a day.

On day 2 we started again and this time Aaliya and me gave up after the first hour. My (kind and hardworking) husband finished the job bearing the sweltering heat of the overhead sun. I had a new found respect for painters, masons and construction workers who do this for long hours each day. No wonder they are so fit and sleep well. The fence now looked new, fresh and clean. We were happy with the result and what the entire process taught us.

Children are ready and willing to work hard, if a task is presented to them and hardwork is role modeled. I learned that I didn’t really have to teach her to work hard she was already ready. As a parent I have to present opportunities for her to work hard and support as a family. From that day we decided that in small ways we would all work in and around the house. We start our day by folding the blankets and end it with washing our own plates.

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Written By -- Insiyah Rahim (Director, Toddlers Nursery & Learn2Teach)

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