John Cowan - Work

Publish Date
Thursday, 30 March 2017, 12:59PM
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

By John Cowan


Work is such a powerfully good thing in most people’s lives and it’s something we should get our kids hooked on as soon as we can. Work gets you from ‘wanting’ to ‘having’. It makes you feel good about yourself, and raises your esteem in the eyes of others. The skills a teenager picks up at a job (even if the pay isn’t great) pay off over a lifetime and engrain habits and ethics that will be of incredible benefit. The person who learns to always give his best shot, be punctual, diligent and absolutely trustworthy, has better credentials than someone with an IQ of 150 and a slack attitude.

If we let our teenagers just be an idle leisure class, it robs them of vital training and significance. Work helps to give life meaning. It gives you sense of achievement and it brings you into teamwork. Most goals and rewards are achieved through work.

Admittedly, the types of jobs teens usually get are not ones we would envy – flipping burgers, stacking shelves, pushing brooms. But any work is an essential first step towards higher goals. There are lots of things in life that are more important than work - relationships, family, social causes, and service to humanity. Work helps to develop discipline and with self-discipline you can pursue all these others well and with longevity.

About John

John has been with The Parenting Place ( for seventeen years as their senior writer and presenter.  He had various roles working with youth and families prior to that but actually started his working life as a scientist in neurophysiology at Auckland Hospital.  As well as writing and speaking, John is frequently on radio and television.

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