Why Teach Your Children Practical Skills?
January 9, 2007

Many parents are waking up to the fact that we are sending our young people into the world with very few practical skills. Unless your dad was a businessman, plumber or auto mechanic (and he took the time to teach you those practical skills), there is a good chance that you have no knowledge of even the basic skills that people a generation ago took for granted.

Far from encouraging the passing down of practical skills and the value of hard work, our society has lampooned practical skills as something unnecessary and even demeaning in today’s highly technical world. After all, it has only been in the last fifty years that a man who can work with his hands has been considered inferior socially.

The Corinthians not only had an inaccurate view of practical skills, they did not have a clear understanding of greatness in the kingdom of God. Paul was willing to do anything to further the kingdom of God. If that meant swinging a hammer for a time, so be it. If he had to run a cleaning business, let’s do it! What I am trying to say is that Paul did not do a particular job or pursue a career for his own glory, he was willing to lay down his pride for the glory of God.

Now, I am not saying that you have to punch a time-clock or have blisters on your hands to be a truly spiritual man. And I am not saying that we all have to move to the country and require our sons to only work with their hands. I am saying that, whether your young person chooses work with his hands for a living or not, practical life skills are essential for a well-balanced Christian life.

In fact, one of the requirements of a Pharisee in New Testament times was that he had to have a trade. That is why Paul was a tent maker.

Now, of course we are much more sophisticated in these modern times and have left behind the need for practical skills. Or have we? Below are four reasons why I believe practical skills are necessary for our young people no matter what career they choose to pursue.

1. Practical Skills Give Us Freedom From Man.

Notice in 1 Corinthians, Paul did not have to rely on the haughty Corinthians for his livelihood. He had his own source of bread and the Corinthians had no power over him. He was free from their corrupting influence. He could minister to a group of people without being beholden to them financially. How many pastors are afraid to say things that need to be said because some influential person in the church might pull the financial plug on them? Or how many Christian public school teachers are afraid to call evolution a lie because they might lose their livelihood?

When you train your children in practical & profitable skills, your children can make a choice during economic downturns. Online family businesses offer your children a choice about how they spend their time and money. Find training for your children so they can choose between working for themselves (as an entrpreneur or with hands-on skills) or depending on someone else for their pay check. Making a living with a home-based online business can give you and your children freedom from undue influence by other men.

2. Practical Skills Provide an Example for Those We Disciple.

One of the key reasons Paul worked with his hands was to provide an example to those to whom he was ministering. If the one who discipled is willing to do manual labor to get the gospel out, how much more the one being discipled? And hopefully our children are our number one disciples. They need to see the value of practical skills and the character that these skills produce. They need to experience success and failures in business to grow in spiritual maturity. Family businesses are a way to learn naturally how to handle failure and success.

 

Steve was amazed at the softness and downright laziness of some boys that enter his Life Skills Camps several years ago. But then what should you expect from boys who are not required to do any physical labor around the house and whose chief entertainment are video games and television?

And those boys who shun the television only to spend all of their time in books are no better! Reading is a great and wonderful exercise, but it must not exclude the learning of practical, profitable skills. In addition to intellectual skills, practical skills are necessary for the godly character they produce in our children.

3. Practical Skills Bring Us Down To Earth.

Far from enticing boys not to go to college, I have found that spending an entire summer mowing lawns encourages young men to pursue college with a vigor. And a summer roofing houses in the hot Texas sun will cause your son to enter post-doctoral studies! He may not want to rely on that skill for a living, unless he can parlay it into a business where he does not have to be the one on the roof!

I believe that every person in the ministry should work in the business world for a period of time. They would have a greater appreciation for the pressures and temptations that their parishioners face in the modern work environment. They would also be less apt to ask their congregation to do things (or programs) that compete with time and energy spent with their families. If more pastors came from the real world of work or had to earn a part-time living while ministering, they would have more respect from those inside and outside of the church.

Families and young people that run a home-based business bring you down to earth when you experience the highs & lows of an entrepreneur. Practical skills and starting a home-based business help to harness the intellect and bring it under submission to God. They also teach us to evaluate priorities and situations wisely.

If you do not have the practical skills to teach your children how to ride out economic hard times by having their own home-based business, search for places where your children can learn from successful entrepreneurs. Books, audio workshops, video tutorials and live seminars are the best place to gain these foundational and practical skills.

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(c) Stephen Beck

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Stephen Beck owns and operates a small business in Bryan, Texas. He is the author of A Father’s Stew: The Biblical Integration of Family, Work and Ministry. His passions are discipling his three children and leading younger believers to maturity in Christ, which he combines with his other passion of duck hunting whenever he can!  Steve wants to give you a free CD to help you start your own family internet business at Christian Home Business.

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