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Dr. Gerald Brown Oct 28, 2019

Cultivating a Work Ethic within your Kids!

With the Twitterverse, WebMD, Facebook, Youtube, and Google giving us answers to any number of social, physical, cultural, educational, and spiritual troubles/dilemmas it is no wonder that millennials and generation Z are always looking for shortcuts in life.  How do we instruct our children to go from blobfish [the laziest fish according to some] to a salmon and swim upstream against a slacker culture? Here are the some ways to cultivate in your children a greater work ethic.

1. Understand the fact that you always teach, even when you think your kids aren’t looking or listening.

The question isn’t “if” you are teaching but “what” and “how” you are teaching. It’s important to understand that home is an organic and ongoing learning environment. Everything we do instructs our children. What are your children learning about work, initiative, and challenging oneself by observing you?

2. Set the example because they are looking or listening and remembering.

If parents own a positive work ethic, then we’re halfway there. The most critical way to do this is to follow through on what you say.  Even the smallest of details can be overlooked.  Just this morning my daughter called me out because last night I had told her that I would make her toast with Nutella this morning but we ran out of time this morning and I felt a bit guilty.  As such we agreed that I would make her nutella toast today after school. This is a great opportunity for me to “do as I do” to support “do as I say” despite my brain fog.

3. Seek Balance in daily functioning.

“A work ethic that sacrifices family turns out to be all work and no ethic.”

Every family determines work requirements and expectations in balance with fun and leisure time.  Make family time priority time in your daily and weekly routine.   If you cannot have a meal together each night don’t fret but look for ways to spend time together [reading together, talking about 3 best things that happened that day, work out together, make dinner together, packing lunches together etc.].

4. Volunteering with your child.

In Charlotte there is a local organization called which is an excellent website to peruse volunteering opportunities for families.  Whether it is going to a local park to pick up trash, or playing kickball with foster care kids, volunteering with your local church, and or becoming an after school tutor your child[ren] will learn lifelong lessons when they see your enthusiasm in helping others…Work associated with service is a key staple to the value of work across the board.

  1. Chores at home are a shared responsibility.

    Every member of the family should have assigned chores on a routine basis. Routine is important for children and having a chore routine/schedule adds value to their daily and weekly routine.  The point cannot be stressed enough that they are always watching and listening as you maintain order, repair, and cleanliness of the home and yard.  By observing they are learning how to be now and adding a more balanced work ethic to their daily life.  A great help to this process may be a chore chart which can be found at the local dollar store.

    Also see

    Always remember to tell your child/teen (and yourself) the following each day:

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Love yourself
  3. You were born for special reasons
  4. Look for ways to help others today
  5. Your primary purpose is to discover what your unique talents are (that no one else in the world has)


Doc Brown

If you would like to learn more about me or my practice Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting, PLLC and have questions feel free to visit my website as well as read my Inner Compass Blog.  My book Abandoned to PhD: Integrating meaning and resilience in everyday life is available on the publisher website and if you would like to review and purchase please visit


Dr. Gerald Brown (Doc Brown) is owner of Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting PLLC in Cornelius, NC and Statesville, NC.  He is passionate about fatherhood issues, immigrant concerns, and specializes in trauma work.  Doc Brown has presented at various conferences and has a multitude of experience training organizations and corporations in diversity and multicultural resilience.  He believes in helping individuals, couples, and families find meaning and integrate that meaning with various resiliencies in order to live purposefully and vibrantly.  He is married with two daughters ages 16 and 8. 


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