We must teach work ethic

We read with great dismay reporter Crystal Nelson’s Saturday dispatch in which she told us of area employers’ struggle to find workers.

Some of the struggle is understandable: A culture that until recently has pushed four-year university degrees over skilled trades training has left a smaller pool of applicants with the skills needed for the work.

Some of the struggle is even a sign of good news: The region’s low unemployment rate means there are fewer people in the region looking for work, meaning fewer people to apply for open positions.

But we shook our heads sadly to read about not one, not two, but three applicants who failed to show up for scheduled interviews at Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health and to hear Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jackie Krawczak say employers “struggle to find workers willing to do the work.”

That problem is not unique to our area, Krawczak said.

Community leaders are doing their part to address the first two issues. Northeast Michigan school districts, with the help of a state grant, are expanding career technical education, and several efforts are afoot to increase economic development that might encourage more people to move to Northeast Michigan or stay after graduation, increasing the pool of potential job applicants.

We know, too, that schools do their part to teach our children work ethic, but the greatest responsibility for teaching those lessons actually lies in the home. Not just parents, but grandparents and aunts and uncles and older siblings and cousins, coaches and pastors and neighbors, all share a responsibility to teach the importance of work.

Nothing gets done but with somebody’s blood, sweat, and tears, and none of us should assume somebody else’s effort will make us comfortable.

We are reminded of that great classic, “Where the Red Fern Grows,” and how God came to blow down that great sycamore to deliver Billy his raccoons, but only after Billy had chopped and chopped to the point of blistered exhaustion.

God does his part, but expects us to do ours.

That should be a manual for all our lives.



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