The other night, in the barn with Jack, I saw him let up. I saw him not give his best when brushing his steer. I saw him half ass it. As I watched this, words formed in my throat and came out of my mouth before my brain had even processed them and I heard a voice say “if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” I may as well have grown a beard and worn a gray sleeveless t-shirt because I realized in that moment that I have turned into my father.
On Sunday, we will celebrate Father’s Day and as I look ahead to the day set aside to honor the men in our lives I have to remember some very specific lessons that I learned from my dad. He’s taught me:
Do What Has To Be Done
I grew up on a farm. There was nothing my dad would have liked to do more than farm full-time. Unfortunately, he couldn’t feed our family doing that, so he took a job in town. There were a lot of winters when I was a kid that dad would find himself laid off when construction work was slow. Those were the times I remember dad doing whatever had to be done in order to keep our family housed, clothed and fed.
There were a lot of springs and a lot of falls when I wouldn’t see my dad at all because he’d work 10 hours in town and then work ground, or haul grain late into the night. There was a job that needed to be done, so he did it. This has been a guiding example in my life and I try to keep it in mind when things get hard.
You Can Be A Lot More Than You Think
The house that I grew up in was built with my dad’s own two hands. A finish carpenter by trade, I have always marveled at the things that the man could do. It seemed like if it was made of wood, he could fix it, build it or make it look prettier than it did before. As an adult, I’ve come to know that there were a lot of things that Dad didn’t know how to do when he built our home. He just trusted that he could figure it out and tried anyway.
This is an important lesson for all of us. There are a lot of times when I just give up because I don’t know how to do something. In those moments, I think of dad wiring and plumbing our house. He figured it out and did it right, even though he wasn’t a plumber or electrician and I need to trust my ability to figure things out.
If A Job’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing Right
This is my dad’s most famous phrase. We all know he didn’t coin it, but he’s made it his own. There were a lot of days when he would be in the field or working late and my brother and I would have to do the barn chores. When we half-assed it, we always heard him say “if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”
Today I face the temptation to mail it in. To not always give it my best and to half ass it. In those moments, I hear Dad telling me his famous phrase it turns my attitude around.
There are moments when I realize that I’ve turned into my father. Because of the example that he’s set for me, I can’t think of a better man to be.