They just don’t teach work-ethic in school anymore

Grandkids In an article I wrote the other day, How to Overcome Disappointment, I mentioned that I only hear from the grand kids when they need or want something from me.  No sooner did I push the send button on the email to let you know of the article I got a call from one of my granddaughters.  Now this rant is not against the grandchild, but rather the grandchild’s school.

It appears that schools are just not teaching good “work ethic” now-a-days.

They want this child to raise money for some school function, though she says it is for her college education, but they only want her to do half the job.

She called to tell me I had the chance to order candle’s for $25 each or popcorn (several flavors) for $17 each.  I informed her that I could not eat a candle (well, I guess I could but it would not taste very good) … but that I loved popcorn.  She said, “Okay Pappy, I’ll text you all the flavors,” and hung up.  Now she may have been calling me from school and may have had a lot of calls to make to get commitments … but the call lasted all of about 30 seconds.

Next thing I know, I’m getting a text message with a link to a website to go online and place my own order and pictures showing 7 different flavors of popcorn.  Next we had several text back and forth.  Here is how those text read:

Pappy:  “Why don’t kids work anymore?  I have to go online and do the work?  Tell your school Pappy is really disappointed in them.  I will order tomorrow.”

“Schools teaching children to be lazy is also the subject of my next blog.”  Then I sent her a link to my website since she was so kind as to send me a link the the website to order the popcorn.

Granddaughter:  “What Pappy?”

Pappy:  “I’m tired of schools not teaching kids to work for what they want.  I love you but am not liking your school very much at this point.  I have a blog site and will write more there.”

Granddaughter:  “What do you want me to do?  Drive to Jackson just to give you flavors of popcorn?  I have till October 16 to fill all this out.”

With that I had to laugh because (a) she will argue with a post, and (b) she is not old enough yet to drive.

Pappy:  No, I don’t expect  you to drive to Jackson.  I expect that if your school is going to raise money through their students they should have the students do all the work, e.g. take my order, go online, order it, ship it to me and then collect the money.  If the school is raising the money why must the donor do all the work for them???”

Granddaughter:  “Because we’re raising money for my college education.”

I don’t know … but does this mean that she is going to be able to keep the money she raises or does it mean the school is going to pay her college bills?  Both thoughts are a little far-fetched.

Pappy:  “Just wait and read my blog when I finish it.  Love you!”

Granddaughter:  “Love you too, Pappy.”

Now here we are … in the middle of this blog.  So, how do I begin?

I may be old, but I can still remember when I was a youngster in Elementary School.  Of course this was way before computerization.  However, schools still liked to use their students to raise money.  I remember in Willow Springs Elementary School (Willow Springs, Illinois) we (my brother and I) were required to sell candy from Kathryn Beich Candy Company.

We would have to go door to door with an order book.  Take peoples orders and pray that they pay for them since we could not pick up the money until the candy was delivered.  We would fill our order books and go back for more.  It was a contest to see which student in each class could place the most orders.  The prize … some little cheap gadget that may cost $2.99 at the local gift store.  But it was not the gadget that we worked for … it was merely being a “Winner” that turned us on to work so hard.

Once we placed the orders (and there was about 17 or 18 different kinds of candy a person could order and many ordered more than one kind), the orders would be drop shipped to our houses in large boxes.

We would have to go through and try to figure out from hand-written notes (and they no longer teach handwriting in school either) what candy belonged to whom at what address.  We place the candy tins (yes it all came in decorative metal boxes) in paper bags, hop on our bicycles and hit the road to deliver the candy and collect the dough.

Then we delivered the money to the school … if we came up short on cash … our parents were billed the shortage – and my dad was not having any of that so I counted the money three times at each house I collected from.

I firmly believe it was the requirement of the student to do all the work, start to finish, from taking orders to packaging and delivering orders and collecting cash (and sometimes checks), that instilled the work-ethic I now have and have had all my life (or at least since 6th grade).

What has happened to our schools today.  Yes, I know computers have changed the way business is done and the way children are taught.  But why can’t the schools require children to finish the job.  They should …

  • Take the order,
  • Go on line and place the order,
  • Have the order sent to them,
  • Package the order to be mailed to the customer (or hand deliver if in the same town).

As for money in this cashless society we live in … the vendor of the product could simply bill the person who made the purchase before the order is shipped to the child for delivery.  Better yet, the student could carry their iPad or Chromebook with them to the house that is making an order and do everything up to the point of a credit card number and then have the customer put it in for them.  Would this probably slow down the process?  Yes!  Would it teach work-ethic better?  A resounding YES!

As it is, I believe schools are teaching our children to be very lazy.  I can see this happening in the future:

I need to get my car repaired.  I go to the mechanic and he tells me … “Oh you need a new “wathcamacallit” and a new “kunutervalve.”  Go to this website and place the order for these two items.  When they come in, bring them to me with your car and I will install them for you at full price.”

Is that really the direction we are headed in?  Could be if our educational system does not make some drastic changes.

Back in 1993-94 my son, David, worked a few hours for me at my office in Baton Rouge after school.  He also wanted to play basketball.  He was told that because he worked he would not be allowed to play basketball.  He was pretty upset.  I called the school board to ask why and they said he would not have time to do his homework if he worked after school and played basketball.  It did not matter that he got out of school at 1:00 PM and basketball practice did not start until 4:00 PM.  Nor did it matter that he rarely did homework at all.  Some kids do and some complete it all at school.

Of Course I got the school board to “make a new decision based on new information” by asking one question.  You see you can’t get people who tell you something to change their mind … they will have to first admit they were wrong to change their mind.  People just don’t like to be wrong.  But, you can get them to make a new decision based on new information.  Here was my question:  “If I were a farmer rather than a financial planner, would my son be allowed to do his chores on the farm and play basketball?”  The answer, “Yes!”  My response was … Okay … he is no longer employed he is simply doing his chores as required by his parents.  He did end up working and playing basketball.

I’m proud to say David is not lazy … none of my kids are.  They all put in 50 to 60 hours or more per week.  But had I left it up to the schools to teach them work-ethic … it would not have happened.

What are your thoughts?

2 thoughts on “They just don’t teach work-ethic in school anymore

  1. Linda Young

    First, I keep telling you that particular child is a NIX through and through…very quick witted and easily ready to fight that good fight. You would have gotten a smile, nod and “oh pappy” from the older 3. This one, not so much. And yes, we find it just as hard at times not laugh our behinds off at her responses when we should fuss at her instead. (Yes, she got the “I cannot believe you actually said that! What were you thinking?” Her response was: “Well, you know I was going to have to speak my mind.”) Yes this kid makes me shake my head daily.

    Last, I am not sure why you think schools should teach work ethic. Mine didn’t. I learned and gained my work ethic from you and mom, not school. I know you never wanted us to work quite as hard as you and mom. You wanted us to work smarter. I would love the same for my children.

    But I also hope that my work ethic sets the same example for my children and they work harder as well as smarter so they can be a better provider to their children than I am to mine.

    Love you Dad!

    1. Linda … my first little girl,

      Thanks so much for reading my blog. And yes, I see and know that Ember is a Nix at heart – and I admire her for it. I like a fighter. Next, about your school not teaching you much in the way of work ethic. I agree. I told you that when you were in school … and told you then it was a slippery slope. I remember because I remember you asking me what a slippery slope was. However, when you had a fund raiser your school at least made you take the orders and pick up the money. They no longer do that with the invention of the internet. While the internet is good … it is not good for teaching work ethic. Today kids looking for a job, rather young people looking for a job, think that sending a resume via the internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Yea, I know this is what employers think they want … but let’s face it … employers no longer teach work ethic either. Why the hell else would they let a man have 6 weeks off for the birth of a child by his wife. Employees for most employers are simply lazy and call it working smart rather than working hard – to me that is a cop out most of the time. I agree with you … people should work smart and hard. In today’s society we have forgotten the “hard” part and have hung our hat on the “smart” part of the equation. As an employer, I would not even look at a resume that came to me via the internet or the mail. If you want a job you had to deliver the resume to me in person then tell me how much of it was really a lie.

      Gotta run … but please keep reading!


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