“When no buyers were near, he talked to me earnestly to impress upon me how valuable work would be to me in the future: ‘Some men hate it. They make it their enemy. Better to treat it like a friend, make thyself like it. Don't mind because it is hard. If thou thinkest about what a good house thou build, then who cares if the beams are heavy and it is far from the well to carry the water for the plaster. Promise me, boy, if thou get a master, work for him as hard as thou canst. If he does not appreciate all thou do, never mind. Remember, work, well-done, does good to the man who does it. It makes him a better man.’” ― George S. Clason, The Richest Man in Babylon
The life of Del Smith, an aviator and the millionaire founder of Evergreen International Aviation, is a great example of a true rags-to-riches story. Orphaned at birth and then adopted at a young age, Smith’s childhood years were nothing but rough. Yet, he managed to rise from obscurity to become a successful and world-famous aviation entrepreneur.
Smith was an epitome of self-reliance and believed that the greatest gift that can be given to a child is to teach them the value of work. It’s a gift that always remains with them as it can never be lost or stolen. He considered himself fortunate to have a difficult childhood, and often said, “Thank God I was born poor; I learned how to work.”
Napoleon Hill wrote, “Making life ‘easy’ for children usually makes life ‘hard’ for them in adulthood.” There’s great truth in this maxim.
Parents often get carried away and let the natural desire to give their kids all the material things and comforts they didn’t have as children overpower them. But this never leads to anything good. Such generosity and uninhibited love not only undermines the value of work in the children’s eyes but also deprives them of the opportunity to develop self-reliance and hence establish confidence in their ability to take care of themselves no matter what situations they face.
Parents must start training their kids for a tough life at a young age so that later on they become remarkable adults and citizens in the future. In essence, they must always prioritize work over welfare; this is the only way to give them a great start and put them on the road to success. As Napoleon Hill puts it, “When you make life ‘hard’ for your children by requiring them to learn the value of work, they will have a far greater likelihood of success as adults.”