I was out mowing a lawn for some extra “diaper money” the other day. It was hot, and the lawn I was mowing was at a house that had been repossessed by the bank, so “lawn” didn’t truly reflect the condition grass I was cutting. “Hay field” would have been a better representation. It was so bad that I couldn’t even use a regular mower to get through it, I had to use a “DR Trimmer Mower” (basically a 6HP weed eater on wheels) to hack through the overgrown grass. Anyway, there I was, sweat dripping down my forehead, grumbling to myself about how hard it was, and how I wished I could just go home and have a glass of my wife’s homemade lemonade, when my mind started to wander back to when I was a kid, and the lessons that my dad taught my sister and I about hard work.
My sister and I were always expected to help with whatever project dad had going at the time. It could be building fences around our 5 acre plot of land, or weeding the very large garden he insisted on growing every year. Whatever the task was, dad always taught us that it didn’t matter if it was 95 degrees out, or if you were tired, or had some great excuse for why you needed to go inside – the job needed to be done, and done right, and with the right attitude. There were many times I thought he was mean to make us stay out and finish the job. I had no idea that what he was instilling into me would be of such great value as an adult. What I thought was dad just being a pain – I should have been thanking him for.
There have been many jobs as a teenager, and as a young adult, that I would not have gotten, or been able to keep, if it weren’t for what Dad taught me as a kid. I’ve worked for burger joints, all the way up to self-made millionaires, and each one has always gone out of their way to hire me, and then try to keep me on if I decided to leave for a better job. Is this because I’m a likable guy, or I have some kind of secret power? No, it’s because I know how to roll up my sleeves and get down to business – just like my dad taught me.
Being a father myself now, I have to remember to teach a good work ethic to my kids – to do the job “unto the Lord, not unto man”. Even if it’s not an enjoyable job, or everybody else has quit – having to determination to see the job through. This is harder than it sounds however, in the culture we live in. It’s tempting in our world of automated everything and “the government will do it for you” attitudes, to end up doing too much FOR my kids instead of letting them work at something and see it through without my direct help. I also need to lead by example in the work that I do with them. Just like I remember my dad seeing the job through no matter how hard, my kids will also remember how their dad did, or didn’t see a job through.
Thanks Dad, for showing me the value of a hard work. It a trait that’s becoming harder and harder to find.