A life of love and hard work

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young adults

“Shout out to the people who put in major work. Who are up early for school or work. People that study. Grind. Who know sacrifice and discipline. Who persevere and prioritize self-worth and love. Who rise above and hold it down.”

I read this unattributed quote last week and promptly shared it on GirlWonder’s social media profile because it embodies her perfectly.

Like many her age, she is up early for college, works two jobs, helps around the house, attends church, and somehow still finds time to have a social life.

I think it’s because the young need less sleep than I do.

No idle hands

Still, it amazes me how she and so many of her peers are doing this. I’m a firm believer in idle hands = devil’s work and made no excuses for the Wonderkids being kept busy.

From a young age, they had academic and athletic activities, church, clubs, and a variety of fun things to help them learn and grow while keeping them too busy to get into too much “trouble on the side.”

There were no participation trophies at home or away. Whether chores around the house or accomplishments on the playing field, any accolades and extra privileges were earned fair and square.

Life lessons

We didn’t embrace all those years of sunrise soccer practice, travel ball, and year-round games because we planned on having the next Mia Hamm or seeing her on an Olympic podium.

(Is soccer an Olympic sport? See, I don’t even know.)

No. We knew she was unlikely to go pro. What we did know was that she was likely to learn discipline, teamwork, leadership, and compromise.

Those are all great adult life skills. Sometimes I wish I was better at them myself.

When some coaches were not easy, she was being prepared for difficult colleagues, professors, and employers. When she had to balance academics over athletics — she was learning priorities. Facing playoffs while studying for exams teaches the value of work/life balance. It also teaches a person to get plenty of rest.

Our son was raised the same way. You don’t become an Eagle Scout by being lazy. By working both at home and away, you learn that you aren’t too good to dig a ditch, paint a fence, lead a team, or pick up the field after the game. You can indeed be MVP and still carry the ball bag back to the bus.

Someday I hope he’s a CEO who is equally proficient at helping with a shovel or loading a box if necessary. None of us should ever be too good for work.

As the old saying goes, “You want something done? Give it to a busy person.” Our children — and their peers — were busy kids who grew into busy young adults who know how to get things done.

Recharging

Granted, I love my downtime. There is nothing better than a rest and recharge, “do nothing” day. I just find that I enjoy those more if they are bookended by days when we actually accomplished something. An endless string of “do nothing days” starts to feel more like punishment than relaxation.

I didn’t invent this parenting style. The parents I know personally all do the same.

I don’t see this “lost generation” of pampered kids the media keeps worrying about. Maybe it’s based on our rural location? A sense of time and place or some weird wrinkle in the universe where I live in a throwback society of “yes ma’am” and chores.

Whatever it is, I’m a fan of it.

Now I see my children and their peers in adulthood and almost without fail, the “busy kids” are killin’ it. You wouldn’t know from the near constant derision of millennials, but if you ask me, as the old song goes, the kids are all right.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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