Twice this past week I had the opportunity to work side-by-side with two of my kids doing hard, physical, manual labor.
There was no heavy machinery, battery or electrically-operated assistance, not even a single solitary power tool.
Just us, some heavy duty work gloves, and enough sweat to fill a kiddie pool.
And there are few times in my 19 years of parenting that I have been prouder.
Let me tell you a fun fact; raising kids that know how to dig in and work (like, really w-o-r-k) and then getting to work with them as they apply their effort, their power and their know-how is pure parenting bliss.
I kid you not. ("Kid you not" hee hee.)
Kid-owners, do yourselves a favor, purchase your kid their own set of work gloves and then find a way to show them what they're needed for. If you don't have a demo project, building project or lawn care project at hand - find a neighbor.
I guarantee you SOMEONE will be doing a project that could use an extra hand and you and your kiddo jumping in to help might be just the boost they need.
Do this because they'll learn a valuable how-to lesson.
Do this because teaching them to help someone, without payment, just for the cause of being helpful - is a great thing to teach them.
Do this because when you do need help one day and you want them to put on those work gloves you bought them, they'll not only know which hand they go on but they'll know exactly what kind of effort is required when you do a job that requires work gloves. (Note, work glove jobs generally require more effort than household chores. Your child does not need to wear their work gloves to empty the dishwasher, make their bed or feed the cat. Basically, jobs that are done on a daily basis are not work-glove-jobs.) Work glove jobs may not happen that often but when they do it means they might get dirty. They might get sweaty. They also might learn a life lesson so it's a great trade off for the dirt and the sweat.
To my 13 and 16-year olds who pulled on your work gloves, cut, hauled and piled branches, unearthed and pitched rocks, pulled weeds, and sweat out buckets with me: you're beasts. And I say that with pride in my voice.
I could not have asked for more effort from either of you in those hours of back-breaking, bead-busting work. And I know I told you on the way home but I'll say it again for everyone to hear, thank you.
Thank you for not shying away from hard work. Thank you for owning work gloves and knowing which side is up. Thank you for pitching in and helping to make someone's space better just by giving it your all. And most importantly, thank you for knowing what "your all" is. Kids your age have so much more to give than the effort that is asked of them on a daily basis. Some of them never have the chance to dig down deep and see how far they can be pushed. But you two knew already. You saw what had to be done, knew how much energy you had to put toward it and then you put your head down and dove in, working at a pace that allowed you to keep up with any adult there.
That is a life-lesson worth knowing.
In short, pride is owning a pair of work gloves and realizing they look like trash because of everything you've put them through.
Parental pride is knowing your kids' gloves are the same way.