Physical Labor Encourages Work Ethic, but How Much Should I Push?
I’m late getting my garden ready for the season. I considered giving in and leaving the weeds and remnants from last year’s harvest for another season, but seeing the butterflies and bees come to my space and picking fresh vegetables brings me too much happiness. So I enlisted my husband and my youngest son, Caeleb, to help me prepare the garden.
After using a hoe to dig up weeds, Caeleb scooped up the piles and cleared the area. Working with him and my husband made me remember when I helped my dad rake and bag leaves. I have vivid memories of my dad working in the yard. It shaped my work ethic. I can picture him sitting in his favorite lawn chair as the sprinkler fanned over the freshly cut grass. He was proud of his work. He had high expectations in his career and home life, and I am forever grateful for those lessons.
A large part of me feels guilty for having my son help with yard work. Most parents would scratch their heads in confusion at this admission, but with Caeleb’s medical issues, I often feel conflicted about what I should expect. He always leaves while we are working to either wrap his arm or put on his knee brace. I know the work isn’t easy, but is it too much?
I used to believe in the adage “no pain, no gain.” It works for some, but working through pain is not necessarily in the person’s best interest when a chronic condition is in the mix.
If I don’t allow Caeleb to experience this kind of manual, physical labor, he will never appreciate this type of work ethic. I know he will learn from seeing his father and me doing something entirely out of our comfort zones so we can produce something beautiful and delicious. Unfortunately, Caeleb may not see the lessons for many years to come.
I don’t want Caeleb to give up and give in. I want him to see how important it is to keep moving despite his pain. My life will change dramatically if I ever get to the point where my pain takes over and I cannot move and do the things I want. I’m not ready to stop, and I need Caeleb to understand the effort it takes to keep moving.
There will be days when pain takes over, and I must pick Caeleb up early from school. There are also days he needs to take pain medication and rest. However, I want those days to be few and far between.
The lessons I learned from my dad are ones that I must impart to my son. Caeleb’s physical abilities are limited, but I hope to teach him that through his work ethic, he’s capable of amazing things despite his limitations.
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