I came across this graph last week and felt compelled to write a short blog about it. The data shows that our children spend, on average, 10.45 hours a day involved in activities that are not productive. In essence, our kids spend more time playing on the computer, watching TV and movies, etc. than they do anything else in life including sleeping.
As parents we have been given the responsibility to manage the behavior of our kids. One of our goals should be to mold our kids into productive adults, and lead them to a life defined by achievement and contribution. Our habits have a direct correlation to how our lives play out. If we abandon productivity in our early years, then we will in turn abandon it in our adult years. Instead of earning our way, we will gravitate toward entitlement. If you are of the opinion that these behaviors don’t matter, this data may be of interest:
“The three-yearly OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries around the world, ranked the United States 14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics.”
I have now been in the work world for over 25 years. I was raised in a manner where hard work and going the extra mile was the standard set by my parents. Today in society, it is too often the exception. I see people every day that have big dreams but lack the true desire and work ethic is takes to achieve them. As parents, it is important to remember that we are examples for our kids. That is why it is so critical to live your life as the adult you hope your kids will grow to one day become.
There is a reality in society today that economics are having a negative impact on the value of our kid’s education. As budgets tighten, education suffers. I doubt this trend will change in the near future. Sadly, these are issues that are out of our control to some degree. However, controlling our kid’s behaviors and setting a good example is 100% within our control and the responsibility of a good parent.
To me, the graph above was a huge wakeup call that I need to pay attention to how society and peers are impacting my kid’s choices. Both my wife Jackie and I place huge value on productive activities. Our kids don’t have Facebook accounts. Both play sports and both are great students. We have meaningful, thought provoking conversations as a family. As parents, we know what productive behavior looks like but also have a keen awareness that other factors impact our kids thinking and their time management. That is why we pay so much attention to how they spend their time. We are of the opinion that time utilization is one of the most critical factors we need to monitor with our kids.
As Paul J. Meyer was quoted,
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”