But, says Marian Wright Edelman in her book The Measure of our Success, the real key to achieving is to “assign yourself.”

She explains: “My Daddy used to ask if the teacher had given homework. If we said no, he’d say, ‘Well, assign yourself.’”

This lesson holds true throughout life. Teach your children to assign themselves things they see that can be done.

Even more important, Edelman continues, “If you see a need, don’t ask, ‘Why doesn’t somebody do something?’ Ask, ‘Why don’t I do something?’”

One child could assign himself the task of setting the table. (You eat every night, and someone has to do it.) Another could assign himself to pick up the living room before bedtime.

By teaching our children to assign themselves__and by demonstrating this behavior ourselves, we can instill hard work and persistence in our children.

So when your children tell you they don’t have anything to do, say to them, “Assign yourself.” It may be the most valuable lesson they ever learn.

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