Sunday, March 14, 2010

Work it Out

When I was a kid, I lived in a pretty unique place. At least, it was unique by the standards of most of the people who know me. Most of the people I know, myself currently included, live on postage stamp sized lots. And, the concrete jungle surrounds us. Sure, there are bastions of nature here and there, but not like where I grew up.

My parents were saving to build a house throughout most of my young childhood. I remember being stuck in the back seat with my brother as we would drive for hours looking at one piece of vacant property after another. Finally, after nearly a year, my parents purchased lot that was over an acre in size. Now, for those that are not familiar, that is about the size of a football field.

The next nine months were mostly consumed with building the house. My mom, who is not an architect, designed the house and taught herself to draw the blueprints. We stood in countless lines as she pulled all of the county permits for the building. Then, there were the weekends spent at the building site as my dad literally built the house with his own two hands.

In addition, there was only one home for as far a you could see, and we were surrounded by woodlands. In my tweens and teens I would explore the woods for hours a day. There was usually adventure to be found, if you looked. Growing up there was nice, except for one thing: the lawn.

My dad purchased a riding mower shortly after we moved in to the new place. After several years, at the start of summer, that mower broke. My dad had it examined and found that it would cost $300 to fix. Instead, he bought a brand new push mower with absolutely no special features for $100.

For the next three summers (my young teen years), my brother and I mowed the grass every week with that mower. I would mow half in the morning (it took me about 4 hours), and my brother would mow in the evening (another 4 hours). If you're not from Florida, take my word, this is unpleasant in a Florida summer.

My dad would pay us $4 each to do this job. One time, after many weeks over a couple of years, I decided I didn't want to do it anymore. I told my dad to keep the $4, and I was out. He said he would indeed keep the money, but I was going to do the yard anyway (for free), as part of my contribution to the family.

I began to loathe that yard. And truth be told, I loathed my father to a degree, as well. It wasn't until years later that I realized something. He was not doing it to be mean. He was teaching us about hard work, and sacrifice.

You can't really learn that from a book. You can't study hard work, watch a video on hard work, and then take an exam on hard work. You have to DO hard work to learn about it. Life is difficult, at times, and the Bible is full of examples and stories, and Proverbs about the benefits of labor, and the pitfalls of laziness.

My parents demonstrated hard work by their efforts to build a house, then they taught us kids how to work hard by forcing us to DO it. I hope you have someone in your life who did, or will, teach you about hard work by forcing you to DO the work. If/when they do, don't give them such a hard time. They probably love you and want you to learn something that can't be taught any other way. If someone has already done this in your life, be sure to thank them.

I need to go call my dad.

Magic Tricks

To distract you from the fact that there are still no new posts here. Anyone have any topic requests?