I ran across a short video from The Perennial Plate the other day which gave me pause.

The video featured a woman named Ana Navarro who operates a ranch in Colorado with the help of her children.

As the video shows and Navarro attests, the family does not have a lot of material wealth. Yet the Navarros have realized that they are richer than many others because of the close family bond they have developed by working alongside one another for their livelihood. Ana Navarro declares:

“If other children have expensive toys and shoes… it’s because their parents work to give them whatever they want.

‘You don’t need material things’, I tell my kids.

What’s important is that you’re healthy, and can grow your own food. I want them to have this tradition so they always have what they need. So they know how to survive.

Look at the other children. Their parents are not with them. The mom and dad are off working. You always have me here with you.”

Navarro is certainly right that many of today’s parents are off working. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 70 percent of women and 90 percent of men with children under 18 are in the workforce.

And there is nothing wrong with working hard for a living. Doing so is a good and noble thing.

Unfortunately, America’s urban lifestyle and the demand for certified credentials have made it increasingly difficult for children to work alongside their parents to learn a trade and other valuable life lessons.

Recent years have found America’s children wrestling with increased behavior problems in school and at home. As children grow older and head to college and the workforce, many are realizing that they have driven themselves into immense debt only to end up in a job they don’t like and for which they are not always well-prepared. 

While there are many reasons behind these problems, is it possible that America’s withdrawal from having children work alongside their parents may play a part? Do you think we would see stronger families and more knowledgeable and capable young adults being launched into the world if we sought to restore the family as a working unit, instead of sending them to their separate, age-segregated places every day?

Image Credit: Evan Long (cropped) bit.ly/1eBd9Ks