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A Strong Work Ethic

By: Kristen Stowe, Student Services


In today’s world of entitlement, everyone wants everything handed to them without a please, thank you, complete sentence or hard work.  This new line of thinking is embedded in the hearts and minds of adults and children everywhere.  I see this attitude every day.

My mom was a single mother of three children.  She worked hard, finished business school, took care of each of our individual needs plus family needs and made it to games, even though she slept through most of my softball games in the car, she tried.  Let me also state that this was on top of working a full-time job, going on 43 years in September, running the concession stands, being on the board of our school and serving as secretary for our church.  Plus she did it all in five inch heels! She was the real MVP.  She also took care of two children, who though they were not her biological children, she loved them just the same.

Watching this great woman of faith, taught me to appreciate the work, the struggle, the grit, the good, the bad, the ugly, the unfair, the just, the sacrifice, the reaping, the harvest, whether plentiful or poor, and especially the journey. People in these times think you get something for nothing.  It doesn’t work like that folks.  How can that last if everyone is taking and there isn’t anyone working?  I teach my kids to do their best at everything, from making the trash bag look presentable to turning in projects. I believe without hard work and a strong work ethic, an accomplishment is not humbly appreciated, so I try to put that in word and action.

Anyone can get a job.  A strong work ethic keeps the job.  Anyone can go to college, but college retention and college degrees come from a strong work ethic.  Webster states that work is to “perform or carry through a task requiring sustained effort or continuous repeated operations or to exert oneself physically or mentally in sustained effort for a purpose”.  In other words, something has to be given or an effort must be made.  Now, let’s look at ethic. Webster says ethic is a “set of moral principles, or a philosophy”. Strong means “having or marked by great physical power or having moral or intellectual power”.   So a strong work ethic can be broken down to a purposeful, meaningful, effort that defines you physically and/or mentally.

 Any and everything we do represents us: our world, our parents, our children, our job, our school teams and clubs, literally everything we touch.  We must strive to represent ourselves well and stand for something.  A strong work ethic is a gem and its rarity is unbelievable. Your work ethic gets you that promotion, your work ethic keeps that job, your work ethic keeps you on top on your game.  You may not have all the answers, but you will dig to find them.

When students come back to visit they often tell me, that they appreciated my advice to stay on track and to learn time management.  We need to impress upon our children now how important work ethic is and how to create and achieve greatness.  It is ok to fail. The lesson is in getting up, figuring out where you went wrong and moving on to get it right your way, owning it and becoming great!  Children need to feel pain, joy, disappointment, success, love, support and discipline.  Of course, they are individuals and will do what they want, but deep down inside the lesson is there.  I see it with my son every day.  Keep teaching and pushing.  They will get it!  Look for outside resources if you need help. We must work together to succeed.

Watching my mother has taught me that a strong work ethic precedes you.  I wish people could understand how much hard work gets you in life.  I don’t mean material things.  I mean respect, support, smiles, great ideas, wonderful co-workers, etc.  Those are the things you need to have a great day. It’s not about just working hard, it’s about working hard with a finish attitude.  The attitude is the best part about a strong work ethic.  You don’t mind working, or criticism, or giving or receiving help.  A strong work ethic becomes your attitude.

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