I woke up five minutes before my alarm went off, hoping when I looked at the clock it would really only be the middle of the night. Unfortunately for me, it was 5:25 AM, just like my body had instinctually told me. Day number two of my summer job, and the sun hadn’t even come up yet. I crawled out of bed and went upstairs to eat breakfast before beginning a long day of work. As I saw my siblings and parents still sound asleep, the sleepiness of my legs felt even heavier.
Whether it was helping my dad on the farm – scooping crap, sorting hogs, and putting in fences, or throwing hay bales, roofing houses, or laying cement, I learned how to work, and work hard. As a kid, it SUCKED. The short and sweet breaks during those days of hard work were things I will always remember vividly. Eating a home cooked lunch, or heading to the local bar for the “special of the day” were the perfect breaks before heading back to finish up.
As I grow older, I appreciate this more and more daily. Now I wake up before my alarm and see my wife, my children, sound asleep before heading off to work just as hard, but somewhere my vision has and is still coming to life. Those tough summer jobs taught me my values, but how will I instill them into my children? When I tell them stories about the work I did as a kid, they laugh at the thought of it. While my kids are by no means disrespectful, the generation gap is a hard one to fill when instilling work ethic and values. The “new” generation (I am getting OLD!) feels that short cuts, technology, etc. will allow for success. While there are many agreeable factors, nothing will ever replace hard work and the value it brings. The most successful people I have seen in business and life, have the core value of hard work.
How do you instill strong core values in your children, yourself, and even in employees?
Sam Wageman is the President of Fusion Medical Staffing. He and his wife, Emily, have four awesome children.