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How Do You Set Good Examples For Your Kids?

Posted by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 11:20 AM
  • 11 Replies

Millionaire Mom Has Been Working as Street Cleaner for 15 Years to 'Set an Example' for Her Kids

street cleanerAs parents, we all want to do right by our kids. We want to be the best possible version of ourselves. We want to be kind. We want to lead by example. And for many of us, we want to teach our children the value of a hard day's work. And although it isn't always easy, and although we sometimes fail, we always try at the very least. But let me ask you this: If you became a millionaire, thanks to selling the land your vegetable farm resided on (and then made even more money, thanks to a few smart business decisions), would you still get up six days a week at 3:00 in the morning to pick up trash off the streets just to "set an example" for your kids? To try to ensure they don't become entitled brats with no work ethic whatsoever? One mom did. And she's been doing it for 15 long years.

Yu Youzhen is somewhat of a celebrity in her hometown of Wuhan City in Central China because, yes, she's a millionaire (she owns 17 apartment buildings), but still manages to get up every day to clean the streets of her city. Her job pays her $230 a month, and like I said, she has to wake up at 3:00 a.m. six days a week. Youzhen told local reporters: "I want to set an example for my son and daughter, a person can't just sit at home and 'eat away' a whole fortune." She also noted that she was motivated when she saw other former landowners lose all their earnings to gambling and drugs. As for her children -- well, what Youzhen is doing is working. Currently, her son works as a driver, earning about $320 a month, while her daughter is an office worker, making $480 a month.

More from The Stir: Ultra-Rich Parents Refuse to Leave Kids an Inheritance & the Joke's On Them

I've gotta be honest here: If I were Yu, I probably wouldn't have kept my job. Of course I want to set an example for my kids -- and, yes, instill good work values in them -- but I really just can't see myself waking up at 3:00 in the morning each day to work as a street cleaner when I had millions of dollars in the bank. For 15 years. Unsurprisingly, there have been tons of lovely comments on the beautiful Internet, saying that Youzhen is a jerk for "taking someone else's job." And to that, I can only say: Wow. People really will always find something to hate on. (That's not a good example for kids!)

I think it's amazing what Youzhen is doing. And I admire her tremendously. She's teaching her kids responsibility, values, and the art of not complaining. And not only that, she's shown her children what "smart" business decisions and hard work can get you. How many millionaire parents are successful in doing that for their kids? How many rich kids have their own reality shows right now, simply for being rich?!

I wish I could say that I'd keep my street cleaning job if I came into great fortune like Youzhen did, but I can't even lie and say I would. (This is like the whole "Oh, yeah, I'd totally keep my job if I won the Power Ball.") I'm fairly certain I would do something with my money and life that would help instill good values into my children -- at least, I hope I would. But it definitely wouldn't entail waking up at 3:00 in the morning.

What do you think of this mom?

How do you instill a good work ethic in your kids?

by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 11:20 AM
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Replies (1-10):
wenchmommy381
by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Wow.

I think I would have looked for a job that I loved, and send the pay to charity. (I don't think it's quite the same in Communist China, however...)

I have no idea if I am instilling a good work ethic in my children. I only work on commission, so I do most of my work when the kids are in school. 

M4LG5
by Valeri on Jan. 8, 2013 at 1:18 PM
1 mom liked this

Even though we can afford more things, we do not emphasize these items as important and not worth it to buy it (i.e. ipods for each child). 

We still budget things and make decisions if its a "need" or a "want".

TempestRayne
by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 2:17 PM
1 mom liked this
My husband I both work two jobs for our family.
mamavalor
by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 7:14 PM

This mom is a wonderful example for all peoples.  Money doesn't make the person.  Principles and values do.  Not sure how my kids will turn out, as there are no guarantees in life, but I hope for the best.

 

Barabell
by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 9:03 PM

I think you do show a good work ethic by showing an example and instilling it with their homework.

I get the mom's point in the article above, but I would hope that she wouldn't be going daily to a job that she didn't enjoy if she didn't have to. I think striving to get a job you enjoy is an important example too....not just working for the sake of working.

mamavalor
by on Jan. 9, 2013 at 6:59 AM

That's what I tell my kids! And you are so right about the homework.  Kids (and parents) don't value homework (and sometimes even school) as much as they should.  I often hear too much complaints about homework.  Some parents even permit kids to stop doing homework after the school's suggested amount of time.  So sad.  I guess I am old school.  I tell my kids school is their job right now.  Homework must be done even if it takes them all night.  I explain to them that school prepares them for a job...boss is the teacher, collagues are the classmates, salary package is the report card and awards, and so on.  And if you are really organized, determined, and play your cards right, you can even open your own business or lead a corporation or the country.  There are challenges in a job just like there are challenges at school.  I ask them, "Do you want Grandma to complain to Daddy's boss because his boss is being unfair?  So don't ask me to talk to your teacher. You need to use your smarts to figure things out and must actively advocate for yourself (or others)."   

Quoting Barabell:

I think you do show a good work ethic by showing an example and instilling it with their homework.

I get the mom's point in the article above, but I would hope that she wouldn't be going daily to a job that she didn't enjoy if she didn't have to. I think striving to get a job you enjoy is an important example too....not just working for the sake of working.

 

M4LG5
by Valeri on Jan. 9, 2013 at 11:11 AM


Quoting mamavalor:

This mom is a wonderful example for all peoples.  Money doesn't make the person.  Principles and values do.  Not sure how my kids will turn out, as there are no guarantees in life, but I hope for the best.


I agree.  I have a job as a college advisor.  My students are former foster youth so it's been a passion of mine to work with children in foster care.  Because of that, we often participate in Sleep Train's donations.  Right now they are trying to get new pajamas.  I'll probably take my girls to Walmart soon so they can pick out new pajamas to donate.

M4LG5
by Valeri on Jan. 9, 2013 at 11:15 AM


Quoting Barabell:

I think you do show a good work ethic by showing an example and instilling it with their homework.

I get the mom's point in the article above, but I would hope that she wouldn't be going daily to a job that she didn't enjoy if she didn't have to. I think striving to get a job you enjoy is an important example too....not just working for the sake of working.

That's a great point.  I had this HUGE debate with my sister and husband.  They are on the side of "just making money."  Yes, my husband is a teacher and he does want to be the best teacher but his first instinct about the next job is "how much does it make".  To me, I feel that as long as I'm making enough money that I don't feel like I"m struggling to get by, I want to make sure that I absolutely love my job.....and I do.  I want to instill passion in my kids.  Yes, it's nice to make a ton of money but if you don't believe in what you do or like doing it, then you are just going to be bitter and angry most of the time. 

As for the mom, I think if she felt that money wasn't important because her intent is to give back....I completely understand. 

kmrtigger
by Kandice on Jan. 9, 2013 at 9:44 PM


Quoting Barabell:

I think you do show a good work ethic by showing an example and instilling it with their homework.

I get the mom's point in the article above, but I would hope that she wouldn't be going daily to a job that she didn't enjoy if she didn't have to. I think striving to get a job you enjoy is an important example too....not just working for the sake of working.

Exactly. That's how I started teaching my boys about good work ethics.

We also talk to them about going into a career they LOVE not because of how much money they can make at that career, but how it makes them feel.


Barabell
by on Jan. 10, 2013 at 9:51 AM

I often step back and try to let my son handle situations at school, and usually I only contact his teachers if he feels the teacher isn't listening to him--which rarely happens. He also doesn't like one of his teachers right now, and I'm trying to help him navigate the situation instead of demanding that the school change his teachers.

I agree that school is their "job" right now, and it is a good opportunity for parents and teachers to help instill a good work ethic in kids.

Quoting mamavalor:

That's what I tell my kids! And you are so right about the homework.  Kids (and parents) don't value homework (and sometimes even school) as much as they should.  I often hear too much complaints about homework.  Some parents even permit kids to stop doing homework after the school's suggested amount of time.  So sad.  I guess I am old school.  I tell my kids school is their job right now.  Homework must be done even if it takes them all night.  I explain to them that school prepares them for a job...boss is the teacher, collagues are the classmates, salary package is the report card and awards, and so on.  And if you are really organized, determined, and play your cards right, you can even open your own business or lead a corporation or the country.  There are challenges in a job just like there are challenges at school.  I ask them, "Do you want Grandma to complain to Daddy's boss because his boss is being unfair?  So don't ask me to talk to your teacher. You need to use your smarts to figure things out and must actively advocate for yourself (or others)."   

Quoting Barabell:

I think you do show a good work ethic by showing an example and instilling it with their homework.

I get the mom's point in the article above, but I would hope that she wouldn't be going daily to a job that she didn't enjoy if she didn't have to. I think striving to get a job you enjoy is an important example too....not just working for the sake of working.



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