The next time a mirror comes into view, take a long look at the reflection. Be careful not to zoom in on that extra set of lines that popped up this past summer or the hairline that is retreating faster than a beaten army. What is seen is not just a person but an image. Humans are image-bearers. The image we bear is that of God, according to Genesis 1:26.
There are many truths that we embody because we are made in the image of our Heavenly Father. One truth is that of being workers. This is clear from the scriptural account of Creation.
In Genesis 2:2-3, Moses writes: "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done." (emphasis added)
In verse fifteen of the same chapter, we see that God placed Adam in the garden to work: "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." (emphasis added) Don't miss that: God worked and put Adam to work in paradise. In His ideal, original design, there was work. Work has been modeled by our Father and woven into the fabric of our existence. Nothing bad comes from God, so work is good (not always easy, but good).
Unfortunately, Genesis chapter two ended and sin entered into the world during chapter three. This thing called work that God ordained was influenced by the Fall and was thrown out of balance just like the rest of creation.
Being influenced by sin, our posture toward work moves on a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum is laziness and the other end is being a workaholic. Both are out of balance. As humans, it takes effort to establish and maintain balance.
As parents, it's equally important that we teach this balance to our children. They will follow the sin nature inside of them (prone toward imbalance in one direction or the other). They will also pick up what we model. Therefore, we must model in the right way. If we value work and strive to be balanced, so will they. This can only happen with the help of God. To have the needed help, we need to be in fellowship with Him.
Our attitude toward work and what we model for our children impacts their education. As parents we want our kids to be able to read, write, compute, and think. All of this takes work. During the school years, academic rigor is the work that students are called to do. It is the path our kids are called to walk. This rigor should be facilitated by parents, schools and teachers, but requires significant effort from our children.
It is a natural temptation to try and prepare the pathway of learning and work so it is easy for our children, rather than preparing our kids to walk the path of learning. We do not wish for things to be difficult for our children, but if our children are protected from rigor and work in their school years, they will be unprepared later in life.
Remember: learning is work and work is good. Through striving toward healthy balance in our own lives, we can rightly model this truth for our children so that they succeed in school and beyond.