Tip #9. Answer this question: What does “work” mean to you?
How do you define “work?” What value do you place on it (housework, professional work, parental responsibilities)? Is your philosophy based on your spiritual beliefs? Is work a necessary evil or the key to satisfaction? Do you love it or dread it? Do you watch the clock or find flow?
Our children carry with them an image of “work” that is in part based on what they learn from us at home.
What image of “work” do I give to my children? Do I grumble about daily chores? Count the days down until vacation? Cut corners?
Or do I tell stories of why I chose my work in the first place? Share the joy that comes from serving others? Celebrate the satisfaction from doing even a small task well?
At Acton Academy, the daily work is this: learning to learn, learning to do and learning to be. It is the Hero’s Journey and is grounded in the purpose of honing our talents to help make the world better. It is hard. And it is a choice. Every day, each Eagle is faced with choices about serving others, practicing habits that lead to excellence or digging deeply to discover personal gifts. With each choice, he or she gets to answer the question, “Will I work today or will I not?” Unravelling with them how they make these choices makes for excellent dinner conversation – especially if you have your stories ready to tell.
Bonus: I asked a few Eagles to share their thoughts about work at Acton. See if you can see these themes in their words:
“Having a true work ethic means not wanting to skip over the little things. I work hard because I know I can and there is no advantage to taking shortcuts. –Anonymous
“I’d rather do something with all of my effort than do nothing. If something needs to be done, I figure out why it’s important and how doing it or not doing it will affect me. If I do something simply because someone else told me to, I might as well not do it at all. The reason I stay motivated is that I never let myself believe that what I’m doing doesn’t matter. Because it does.” Sarah
“When you work hard you generally accomplish your goals, and accomplishing goals is good. Plus accomplishing goals will get you far in life. Not accomplishing them, but working hard, will also get you further in life, and getting further in life is a pretty good thing.” Ian
Thank you, Eagles. I am inspired by you.