“Hard Work Didn’t Kill Me”

By Beverly Gadson-Birch 

The younger generation can learn a lot from older folks. When I was younger, my grand momma used to say, “hard work don’t kill nobody.” Now, I am sure you know someone who hard work did in fact killed. Thank goodness for the elderly because their wisdom far outlived them. The lesson the older folks taught was that of morals and work ethics.

The elderly didn’t get where they are by stealing or trying to swindle someone out of something. They worked! If you asked some of your children to take the trash out, their response is, “I tired” or “I sleepy”. And, we accept their poor grammatical response or take it out ourselves. Well, at least some of us do. My grand momma didn’t play that. No Sir! Granny had a switch that would flex like a bucking horse and would leave welt reminders of your slothfulness. If granny told you to do something, you had enough common sense to start walking in the direction of the chore before she completed her sentence. It’s important to teach children good work ethics and not do everything for them.

We are losing too many of our young people to crime and violence. We have created a bunch of lazy children. I know you don’t want to hear it but it is the truth. I grew to understand what granny meant by “hard work don’t kill nobody”. I have experienced the best of both worlds. I learned how to do desk work; but, I also learned how to do manual labor crawling around in attics with my AC company doing estimates. The lesson we need to pass along to our children is “establish good work ethics”.

We are raising too many “soft” children. Young people get up in the morning and go to school without making up their beds. Don’t make the mistake of asking them to take out the trash. If they do, be sure to ask them to bring the container back from the street. The difference between the young and old is the older folks made up their beds before leaving home and you didn’t have to ask them to bring the container back from the street. The difference between the young and old can further be defined as “work ethics”. The older folks were simply grateful to have a job to provide for their families that their appreciation was evidenced in the quality of work. Wisdom is something that you are born with. It isn’t something you can earn or learn.

Today’s article is about getting children prepared for the high tech world that they live in. Everything is going high tech, even trades. Black craftsmen of days gone by could really lay bricks. They could shingle an entire roof in one day. We had excellent plumbers, carpenters, electricians and auto mechanics. Burke Industrial School produced some of the finest craftsmen this state has ever known. Many of the craftsmen went on to teach their trade to the youths.

Many young people do not have jobs because they do not possess the skills needed. This may not always be the case. Another factor contributing to the decline in young people in the workplace is too much time is spent playing games, texting or sexting.

Companies spend thousands of dollars each year on advertising. Many provide training and offer sign up bonuses for new employees. Opportunities are there but young people are just too lazy to take advantage of them. If they are lucky enough to land an interview, the first question is “how much I gonna make?” And, of course, the second question is, “when do I get paid?” And, the third question is “how long do I have to work before I can take vacation?”

There is a shortage of black qualified craftsmen to work in the billion dollar construction industry in South Carolina.

One of the reasons minority contractors cannot get contracts is they are excluded from the process. If they land some of the larger jobs, they cannot find qualified workers, not to mention “black” workers.

Yes, I said it. You can’t find qualified black workers. I don’t have a problem with the truth. You may get one or two whites to work for a black business but as a rule they don’t want to work for a black business. If they do work for you they want to pick and choose what they will or will not do. They want to select with whom they will work. The bottom line is they don’t want blacks supervising them. And you think Black folk has problems following orders.

Parents, stop “babying” your children. Over the years, “babying” has negatively impacted the future workforce. If we are going to develop a skilled work force, we need young people to show up to work acting like they want to work and not acting like they are there to do you a favor. In the service industry, young people need to know how to add and subtract in the event the cash register malfunctions. Workers are too dependent upon technology. Lordy, I’ve seen it happened too many times. If the computer system goes down, they can’t perform simple mathematical functions.

Young people that are hired don’t remain on the job long enough for the ink to dry on their first paycheck. Oftentimes, they report to work late and complain about the boss “picking on me”. Well, the last time I looked up the work boss, it meant the person in charge.

Let’s work with our young people and help them develop a mindset that there is nothing wrong with an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.

Yep, granny had the right idea about “hard work” and that is what we should be teaching our children if they are going to be successful. After all, “hard work” didn’t kill me and I am sure it won’t kill our young people.

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