SEARCH BLOG: CHANGE
(2:00 am the following morning... just before going to bed) I'm recovering from clearing out 10" of wet snow from our driveway and front walk. I worked up quite a sweat, but for a guy in his 60s, I handled it pretty well. Hard work has never been a problem or a threat to me. Besides, judicious use of Advil prevents regrets later.
My neighbor was kind enough to help with a portion of it, but the job still took about 2 hours with my 20+ year old snow blower. Now everything is turning rock hard as the temperature heads toward 20° F tonight and then 10° by tomorrow night. It appears that the missing Arctic ice has been found in Michigan.
The street out front still hasn't been cleared as most city crews were off for the holiday and even major roads were left untouched by plows. For most people, this was a good day for a storm because they had time to clear the snow and not worry about going to work.I wrote sometime back that I might shut down my small business because the state could not get it's act together regarding the service tax that was signed into law [and then repealed just as it was to go into effect]. Given that prospect looming along with a Michigan economy that was getting as cold as the outdoors, I decided this was a good time to cash in my chips and retire. I was fortunate to find a buyer for the business and will spend awhile helping with the transition. Then, it will be time to focus on retirement.
I suspect that I will find a large mound of street snow and ice at the end of my driveway sometime tomorrow once the city plows make it this far.
I started working when I was 12. My father had a small carpet and furniture cleaning business, so I helped out after school and on weekends. Lifting all of those wet rugs and heavy furniture for the next 9 years built me up physically and convinced me that I would be the first in my family to graduate from college. The experience and the decision have both served me well.
But it's been more than 50 years since I began that first job and I don't feel at all guilty about changing my lifestyle and spending some time not working.Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I don't think many 12-year olds have the opportunity to experience that level of hard work these days unless they live on a farm or a ranch. Sure, paper routes are okay, but even those seem to be taken over by adults in many areas.
Kids are "protected" from hard physical work. Instead, they participate in sports (I wrestled) or in some school activity or just "hang."Hard physical work isn't necessarily going to motivate a child to go to college or start their own business or learn a skill or craft.
But I sense that there are far too many children who really have no sense of what work is and what alternative forms it might take. Consequently, there are far too many who are not ready for the working world when their time comes.All I know is that my early exposure to hard work did not hurt me physically, emotionally, mentally or professionally... but a failure to experience hard work might have held me back.
And from what I can see, there are far fewer opportunities for children to experience real work and understand the impact of their decisions to leave school or "hang" instead of expending effort to improve themselves.
Maybe I'll get restless and have to get involved in something again. But for now, I'm looking forward to this change...