Work is essential. Missionary service is hard work—mentally, spiritually, and physically. It is demanding. Every laborer knows that work requires discipline. Teach our youth to look for things that need to be done and then to do them. Even youth who have never worked outside the home can be taught the discipline of work by looking for things that need to be done.
What if a young man or woman decided to see how much work there was around the house and systematically did it!
Let's list a few chores that he or she might find: mow and edge the lawn, plant and care for vegetable and flower gardens, clean the garage, and organize tools; repair doors, screens, electrical plugs, sprinklers, and fences; paint sidings, fences, trim, the garage, and outdoor furniture; wash and iron the clothes; scrub and clean the floors, windows, basins, toilets, tub, and showers; wash the dishes, clear the table, prepare meals; drive the younger children to meetings, games, piano lessons; go grocery shopping; vacuum floors, sweep walks; care for pets; and so on.
Can you see the opportunities parents have available for training their children? If the older young men in the family knew that all of the work they were doing was in preparation for a mission, it would become a glory and not drudgery.
Mental work requires even more discipline. Young people can study the scriptures, read great literature, and memorize poetry, scriptures, inspirational sayings, even the missionary discussions. Again, it will not be drudgery if they understand it is part of missionary preparation.
All work, mental and physical, builds character, stability, confidence, and self-esteem. Work is a marvelous part of life; it is fulfilling and rewarding. Wildred Petersen, in his Art of Living series makes no distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues with excellence what he is about and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. He, himself, always knows he is doing both."
Possibly the hardest work in the world is being lazy. Time moves so slowly—a second, a minute, an hour—that life simply drags by. Those who avoid work carry the heavy weight of nonperformance and dullness of character; they most often find themselves depressed.
Laziness becomes a way of life and saps the manhood or womanhood out of the soul. To work is to save oneself, to bring credit for achievement, to earn one's way, and to fill a role in the community. Also, the person who knows hard work is usually blessed with hard sleep. Our youth need to know that you have to earn deep, sweet, peaceful, repairing sleep.
Excerpt from Vaughn J. Featherstone’s book: The Millennial Generation—leading today’s youth into the future, 1999, p.113