Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pondering with a Purpose


Thanks to Brenda Youngerman for hosting Pondering with a Purpose. Last week she asked us to think about punishments. This week she has asked about a 'punishment' we received as a child that turned out to teach us a valuable lesson.

My parents weren't big on punishments - but were great on life lessons.

My story happened when I was 14. I was messing around in school, so my dad got me a job working in his factory for the summer. At first, I thought this was awesome - $10 an hour in the mid 90s for a high-schooler was big bucks. My job were to basically do all of the 'joe' duties that no one else wanted to do. So I lugged boxes, counted inventory, did errands and cleaned a lot.

One of my summer duties there was to clean the bathrooms and remove the graffiti from the bathroom stall walls (whose reading was an education all its own). I remember being tired and disgusted at the end of one day and telling my dad about it. He turned and looked at me and said, "Well if you keep screwing around in school this is your future. I didn't really have a choice - but you do."

It was that summer working in brutal heat (factory was not air conditioned) with sore muscles after every shift while having to listen to the 'wisdom' of just about everyone there that made me want to work hard and get into university. I do not know if it was designed to be a 'punishment' per se but it was one heck of a life lesson.

I have always had great respect for my dad. The man worked extremely hard everyday until his retirement a few years ago. He is still paying the price for all those years of hard labor. I think back and really understand that I could and would not have made it through getting my PhD without the sacrifices he and my mom made. It is because of their hard work, that I can give my kids a good life now.

My dad may not have been educated in the traditional sense but no one is wiser in life than him.

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