”Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” This old Chinese proverb could not be more true. Hard work sometimes seems to be a dying art form that we are failing to teach our children. We often hear “Work smart, not hard” or some similar cliche, as if hard work is some death sentence only bestowed on the “unlucky”.

I used to do recruiting in Corporate America and it never ceased to amaze me when I interviewed young college graduates who assumed – no, demanded – that they were above entry-level positions and that they should enter the workforce  in high-paying, highly-esteemed positions. I always giggled when they left, as I shredded their resume!

The truth is, there is great value in hard work. Hard work teaches perseverance, persistence, and determination. It teaches us that hard work pays off. It teaches us to push through when times are tough. Not everything in life is easy. It isn’t good to always have your hand out, waiting on someone to give you something. Work for it.

There is great satisfaction in putting in a hard day’s work and earning a paycheck for your diligence. There’s satisfaction in purchasing your first car, knowing you earned it. There is a sense of pride that cannot be replaced with a hand out.

My dad did truck farming for a living. We lived in acres upon acres of farm land. From the time I could remember, I was in the fields picking vegetables, learning to drive a tractor, and working in the gardens. It didn't kill me. It made me strong, very aware of the hard work it took to put food on the table for my family and others.

I urge you to teach your children this simple concept. Not everything in life is free.

Author/speaker, Jennifer Maggio, is one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parents and women’s issues. She is an award-winning author and founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She currently oversees one of the nation’s largest single moms support groups and has helped to launch more than 1500 others in churches around the globe. She is a regular on radio and television. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.