Hard-working; an adjective. How much effort do you need to put into your work to consider it hard? How is it measured? I will tell you with examples from my own life (because I am only an expert in my own life). And at the end, I have included a poem from writer friend, Melissa Steffy, because it fits perfectly with this message.
My three children have all celebrated a few accomplishments as of late, and it got me thinking, because none of them were easy to achieve.
None of them.
And this revelation caused me to think back to my family growing up, and again, a “hard-working” work ethic came to mind. So, I decided I better identify this incredible gift and bottle it up, because I’m going to need it if I want to grow as a writer; if I want to become a published author one day.
First of all, I do recognize this special gift I’m being given, learning a quality trait from my own children. As a mother and teacher, I try my best to teach these kinds of life skills to young people. But, it’s much easier to talk about, than to actually do it yourself. I distinctly remember hiding the tough times I went through in my past from other people, especially my children.
Time to analyze my hard-working examples. My Air Force Captain, P.A. father who worked multiple careers (at the same time) my whole life. My Air Force, nurse mother did the same thing standing right next to him, and yet, they still found time for our family. Our vacation time was nonnegotiable. My sister and I were given every possible experience a child could want (without the spoiling you might be imagining).
At the time, I didn’t know I needed this family time together. As I grew into a teenager, I may have not always wanted to go. But now, I look back and thank God they locked in our family time as mandatory. I’ve seen almost every state park in the United States of America. I’ve boated on countless lakes and snowmobiled on the tops of mountains! I had already lived, when I didn’t even know what my life amounted to. And I can’t thank them enough, because I know now, they could only have provided these experiences by working those multiple jobs. Dedicated to their value of family, they kept this vision in focus and the HARD-WORKING work ethic became glorified. In this day and age, I can’t overlook the gold in that gift.
As I stated before, I have three children. My sister has five. Sometimes I feel like my children were easy to have (not that all their births were magical, because let me tell you, they weren’t). But, my sister has not been able to carry her babies to term. And after a moment to honor their lost lives… I want to share with you her amazing hard-working efforts that saved five little sweet souls and blessed hers. Or maybe it is the other way around. My sister has the perseverance of a machine. Seriously, if they invented a machine to persevere for you, it would be my sister. I will have to write another blog post about the time my sister saved my life, bought me my first computer, and dragged my heinie back to college. For now, know that this woman has persisted through crippling obstacles to adopt her five children. Through each disappointment in her own health (and at times the world around), she stood up through tears and fought the good fight. She is still fighting because life never lets up… for anyone. Another facet of this hard-working quality trait.
Thinking closer to home, my husband doesn’t let anyone (any one) tell him he can’t do something. For those of you who know him, I know you get this. I would describe him as determined. And, it is a trait that has served him well. He is an observer of the world, and a passionate learner. He respects knowledge and values understanding ideals from their core. Because of these traits, he works hard to achieve his goals. And maybe because it’s who he is, he supports me and my goals. He supports our children and their goals. I’m guessing this takes hard-work (especially when he doesn’t always agree with us).
As you can see, I’m still analyzing in my little walk down memory lane because these three amazing kids of mine have recently moved me. Not so long ago, they all hurt when they fell, but somehow, they found a way to get back up. They’ve got me thinking deeply about this trait of working hard. They are typical kids on one hand. I am not here to brag about my children, or to paint a false picture of perfection. We’ve had our battles with family pressures… we’re human. But, as we always try to remember, “We put the fun in dysfunction.”
Moving on. That’s got to be a critical trait of hard-working. Just keep moving. Keep going. No matter what happens.
I’m suddenly picturing Dory from Finding Nemo right now.
Part of me is beyond eager to celebrate my children. Why not? They are my kids, and I’m so proud of their efforts and accomplishments. Jobs well done. Let’s eat cake!
Achievements should be celebrated, however as I over-analyze, I am realizing it’s not only the end result. It’s the whole long road getting there. I am guessing, as I think back to some pretty sad and disappointing days, that my children appreciate their recent successes even more because of their earlier failures. They mean more in comparison. Again, another part of life that is easier explained than being felt. It is hard to live with discouragement, and we never want to talk about it. But, in the end, it makes the prize much more valuable.
How do you celebrate that? How can you possibly smile over previously shed tears? The worn road, carved with disruption among every footprint. Obstacles around every bend.
Aha! Another secret to this character adjective I’m trying to grasp.
So, here it goes:
I think I can visualize the ingredients list in my bottled up “hard-working” concept.
I need commitment to my values, perseverance through tough times, determination to my own core, and to truly keep moving forward, even through disappointment. Most importantly, I need to reflect on the bad days; my failures and frustrations, and acknowledge their foundational steps in achieving the success I now wish to celebrate.
None of this can be new information. I’m not shedding light on something you don’t already know. I guess when all three of my children found achievement within a close time range, and I’m feeling grateful and ready to cheer…I took pause to notice and appreciate the work it took in getting them there.
I want to remember the journey.
This blog is my journey through my writing process. I wrote my SMART goals last week, and I have dreams and aspirations for my future. I’ve seen this hard-working character trait my whole life, but I guess I’m analyzing it now because the older I get, the less time I have. I can’t wait around anymore.
It’s time to drink directly from the bottle.
Here is a poem from a writer friend, Melissa Steffy, that I feel works perfectly with today’s message:
the sentinel came to be
there is not much soft
in the sentinel
they are made to stand
tall strong and stolid
all other things
there is not much soft
there is not much time
the future looks to the day
when the job is done
and the war won
and there is time to rest
the reward for the test
Finding Dory Image from Moviepilot.com
Categories: Thoughts on writing...