One of the distinct privileges I have as a manager is that I spend about 70-80 percent of my time with young men—mostly in their twenties—trying to lead, motivate, and work together toward a common goal. I call it a privilege because it has given me an immeasurably valuable look at the quality of men out there in the world and workforce.
And while I have been blessed to work alongside young men who have the diligence and resolve of true steel, I’ve also gotten to witness one of the glaring maladies of our generation, namely, the complete and utter lack of what used to be called worth ethic.
In short, it’s a generation of lazy boys who were never taught to work hard, accept responsibility, take ownership, and press on when their body tires. Many of them complain at every turn when asked to complete a task, show poor aptitude when performing the duty, and then make known to everyone their amazement that their employer hasn’t promoted them yet. In a word, they don’t work hard and expect everyone to praise them anyway, even give them more responsibility.
Worse, perhaps, is the fact that these boys were reared in Christian homes, but without the apparent application of this crucial lesson. They are in many ways the product of their culture, the entitlement generation who’s always got a hand out before they’ve got a hand on the plow.
As a father of boys I think about this all the time. “He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame” (Prov 10:5). The lazy son brings shame on his father, because it was his responsibility to teach him diligence. The laziness epidemic of our culture falls squarely on the shoulders of the parent, and it is to their shame. If my son turns out to be a lazy malcontent whiner, it’s an embarrassment to me. It is a public declaration of my failure to teach him how to work hard.
I can’t change the boys who are out there in the world already, but I can have a tremendous impact on my own sons.
Boys need to be taught and disciplined in physical labor. Of course it is not an end in itself—the point should always be grace—but in the hands of wise parents, hard physical work is an important part of a boy’s discipleship. He needs to know what it is like to be exhausted, to have callouses on his hands, and to work when his body does not really want to anymore. He needs this; God said so. He is a son of Adam. (Future Men, Wilson, 59).
So as fathers, let us set the example, first, and then shout the call to our sons, as David did to Solomon: “Arise and work! The LORD be with you!” (1 Chronicles 22:16). The sweat of our brow, ordained by God, is a gracious means whereby we and our sons will be pointed to Christ; it is a fundamental instrument in our sanctification as Christians.
They may only be three feet tall, but it is not too soon to teach them to work hard for the glory of God.