The Importance of Living By Example

We recently took on a very large home improvement project. We bought our house with the full intention of making it a place where my kids and their friends wouldn’t need to go anywhere else. They would have everything right here. To do that though, there is a lot of hard work to be done. We had hoped that we could save enough to contract the work out. Turns out, what we thought was enough to do the whole job is just enough to pay for supplies. There is a bright side to this though. It gives me an opportunity to live an example for my kids.

The first example that my wife and I have portrayed is that everyone works. When I’m out shoveling rock, so is my wife. We work hard and we work together, which is an example these girls need to see. If they can’t see how a couple is supposed to work together, then what will they use to gauge their compatibility with a husband in the future?

We make the kids get out there and shovel rock too. They need to learn that because they are girls, they are not exempt from labor. If they want something, it will take hard work. It is also good to have them out working side by side with someone who works harder then them. Much of our work ethic is picked up by watching our parents. It gives me an opportunity to push them to work hard. I also encourage them and help show that hard work does not have to be drudgery, but an empowering experience.

A lesson that I am trying hard to live, but fail more often then I’d like to, is to show them how to deal with frustration and communication. We are doing projects that we have never done before. We are going to be pouring a concrete slab, never done that before. We are adjusting and adapting the plan as we go. All of these new tasks and small adjustments are great opportunities for frustration. How I deal with this frustration will be a model for how my kids deal with it as well. We all know that very few things go perfectly in life. We have to be equipped to handle that and know how to adapt, to pivot. Those who have this skill down do far better and are far happier in life.

I am by no means the best example, but I’m what God gave my kids. It is my responsibility to do the best I can. I can’t do that by sending them in the house every time they get whiney or fight of the same shovel that we have four of. I need to include them in as much as possible so they can be impacted by the model we are trying to live for them.

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