The other day, my 15-year-old son and I tackled a home repair job that has been waiting for a while now—replacing a door with a window. Due to a recent injury, I was mainly supervising, holding a board here and there, cutting some things for him. When it was all framed and the new window was installed, I mentioned how nice it looked and how it feels good when you’re working and it starts to come together. He agreed with me and said, “You know, it makes you feel even better when you know it makes Mama happy.”

I had never said anything about making Mama happy, but it sure made me happy that he enjoys doing the work, and also pleasing his mother. “Where did he get that attitude?” I wondered. I’m not the kind of guy that does a lot around the house. I don’t wash dishes very often, or sweep the floor, etc. But I enjoy doing things that make my wife happy. Thankfully, she is not a demanding woman—very patient. But on those occasions when I do get around to a home project and have her look at it, when it makes her happy it makes me happy. As I thought about it, I concluded that that’s the way we ought to be, doing things that please the ones we love.

I was telling my wife later about our conversation, and of course it made her so proud that he wants to please her, doing little things like that. It’s important that we instill a good work ethic in our children, and the only way to do that is plain old work, doing something that’s constructive. It really gives children a sense of worth. When they get out and accomplish something, and it results in lots of happiness for everybody, it makes them want to do more.