We've all known families who seem to be trapped in the welfare cycle. The parents exist on welfare payments, the grandparents existed on welfare payments and in all probability, the children will continue in the same pattern. The adults have figured out how to milk the system and seem quite content to amble along on the fringes of society letting the working population pay their way.
Most of us would be loathe to see our children fall into this way of life. While it may occasionally be necessary to ask for help during a period of illness, unemployment or other crisis, accepting welfare should only be a temporary measure, to help the wage-earner return to a firm financial footing. This is how the Creator ordained that human life should be, after the fall of our first parents.
"By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Genesis 3:19
How can we prepare our children to earn an honest living once they become adults? Here are a few hints which may be helpful:
* Set a good example. Let them see their parents going to work faithfully every day, even when they don't particularly feel like it. Let them see your paycheck, and explain that this money pays for the groceries, the household expenses and Christmas presents.
* Encourage development of a sense of responsibility. Children can be responsible for getting notes home from school, for completing school projects on time, for returning library books etc.
* Establish good work ethics within the family. Never let the child hear you call in sick when you want time off for another reason. Don't bring home items you just "picked up" from work. Don't ridicule your boss's mannerisms or shortcomings. Praise fellow workers who show initiative or who give more than required on the job.
* Give each child an allowance as payment for helping with household chores. Discuss strategies for wise use of the money, saving a little and perhaps buying some their own school supplies. Help each child open a bank account.
*High school students should be encouraged to get part-time jobs to pay for extras they'd like to have, such as a particular brand of jeans or running shoes. Parents could offer to pay the cost of the regular brand, the teen would have to make up the difference for the upscale version.
* Drive the child through a slum sectionof the city. Discuss what life must be like for the people living there. What life choices did they make when they were growing up which sentenced them to this lifestyle? Could they change it, even now? How?
* Refuse to be an enabler if your child wants to slack off. Do not call in sick for him when he stayed out partying too late the previous evening, or when he wants time off to pursue a sporting event or other interest.
* Once the young person starts to work full-time, insist that he or she pay board if they continue to live at home. Even if the family is well-off, the child needs to learn that he must pay his own way. The world does not owe him a living.
Adults usually strive to achieve the lifestyle with which they grew up, or else to better it. By setting an example of industrious and ethical work habits for your children. by encouraging them to acquire a good education, and by instilling a sense of personal responsibility, you as a wise parent will be setting your child up for success.
You may have to correct some minor flaws in your own attitude and behaviour along the way, but the rewards will be worth the effort. You'll not only be able to see your own children become successes in the world of work, you'll have the pleasure of watching them instill your principles in your grandchildren in years to come.
As the ultimate payoff, you'll be assured that none of your descendants will be trapped in the welfare cycle, at least for the foreseeable future. If only every parent in North America could have that assurance, many of our countries' economic woes would be history.