How To Distract Your Children With Lasting Life Lessons

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The boys were thrilled to learn recently that my parents would be joining us from Colorado for a week-long visit. For days, Micah, Titus and Ezra asked whether the moment had arrived. So last night, before Mom and Dad got here, I introduced a little creative distraction to strengthen one of their wonderful character traits: work ethic.

Our sons love to be part of a project, and we needed to clear out space in the garage for Julie’s car. First, we rearranged the boys’ bicycles at the back of the entryway. Then, we took some old mouse-eaten items to the burn pile.

I quickly realized I needed to include them at all stages. At one point, as I carried something heavy outside, Ezra said, “I’ll help you.”

“It’s too heavy,” I responded. “I think it would be easier if I did it.”

Ezra’s shoulders and face fell like a burst balloon inside his hooded sweatshirt. How can you resist a three-year-old who craves responsibility and has a better work ethic than many men 10 times his age? So I urged him repeatedly to come and help me, and eventually he did, as did Titus.

We moved this and then that, and when it was all through, Ezra joined me in the car so we could pull it into the garage. Titus grinned from ear to ear as he sat inside the garage to make sure we did it properly. Then he pressed the button to lower the door.

About an hour later, MumMum and Granddaddy arrived for their visit. The boys are thrilled about the adventure ahead.

So am I—this week, and as they grow up. Because if you know how to work hard and stick with a task, you can really go places. It all starts in the garage.