Parents have a duty to see that their children are properly prepared for a career. There are four qualities which are becoming increasingly scarce in job applicants. These qualities should be emphasized in children from the youngest ages on up to prepare them to become good workers when they are adults.

  1. Respect for authority. Employers want workers who will respect the principles of a chain of command and who will cheerfully receive a directive as an order. Too many workers believe that their supervisors' directives are merely suggestions which can be followed or not - depending on how the employee feels about the matter. Others will do what their supervisor asks but only with a begrudging attitude. A worker who is willing to follow directions with a smile will shine as a star in the eyes of any employer.

    Question: Do you show proper respect for your boss? Do you have a good attitude toward the leadership of your church? What do you say about the police in the presence of your children? How do you talk about the president and other political leaders? You can disagree while still showing respect.

  2. Taking initiative. Employers value workers who not only do what they are told, but see something else that needs to be done - and does it. Most children need to be taught how to take initiative and then they need opportunities to put these lessons into practice. If you have to tell a child every night to feed the dog, that child has not learned to take initiative. He needs to learn to do the task without being asked. If your toddler makes a mess in the kitchen, your 10-year-old should learn to bend down and clean it up and not just step over it. If you have a child who naturally takes initiative, you simply need to heap on the praise and not take them for granted.

  3. Striving for excellence. Too many in our society are satisfied with being good enough. Our children need to go beyond just getting by in school, at home, and in all their endeavors. In every area of life we need to encourage our children to do everything they do as unto the Lord - with excellence. This extends to the way they clean their room, sweep the walk, or play with friends. They need to see that same quality in your dealings with others and in the way you complete your tasks around the house.

  4. Willingness to work hard. There are too many lazy people who have no enthusiasm for work. You do not do your children a favor by making their life easy. Chores around the house, summer jobs, after-school jobs, expectations to help pay for college, all are ways children can share the workload in the family. This does not have to be at the expense of playtime as well.

From The Home Schooling Father by Michael P. Farris, copyright (c) 1999. Used by permission of Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, Ore., 541-549-8890.

Michael Farris is the founder and president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. His daily radio show, Home School Heartbeat, is heard on more than 900 stations. He is also chairman of the Madison Project, a grassroots Political Action Committee. He and his wife, Vickie, have 10 home-schooled children ranging in age from 23 to 2.