I learned the value of hard work by working hard, meaning I learned by experience and not in a class room. When you have to work hard to get something you will value it more because you understand just how much work is needed to get it. History has shown when you are just given something it does not have the same perceived value, and you are less likely to cherish and protect it as a result. Hard work builds character and it sets the tone early in life, helping you grow and learn as a person.
Today too many people expect to be given something for nothing, wanting things but not sacrificing anything in return. Hard work, helping others, and being a good citizen used to be expected from everyone but that is no longer the case. Hard work teaches you to push through, and the sense of accomplishment that you get is worth more than anything that you may be given.