Words of Hope: Industrious

Dad had a paper route at the age of nine. He had to be out the door early in the morning, as early as 5:00 am. Anacortes is built on a hill. I hadn’t been there in years, but I went there this summer to observe camp and to honor a long-time director. As I drove around the hills, I imagined my dad as a child pedaling up the steep inclines in all types of weather.  

Dad learned toughness as a child. He learned the value of work. His dad made less than $4 an hour pulling plywood at the mill. He needed my dad’s paper route money to feed all his children. This drivenness in Dad equated to early mornings out promoting NBC Camps driving to schools and talking with everyone he knew. Dad was a relentless worker. 

I think about the work ethic he instilled in my brother and me. He never liked to see us sleeping in past eight or nine. Mom never allowed him to directly wake us up, but he found a way to do so. Though Dad was not handy, he loved to adjust a picture outside my room at 7:00 am which always involved hammering. He would also decide to vacuum the strip of carpet outside my door during these morning hours. 

He LOVED seeing me awake early doing my chores which were hauling wood from the underside of the deck into the basement and cleaning up after our 140-pound black lab. As I reflect on my dad’s life, work for him was a feeling that all is well in the world. Indolence spelled ruin in his mind. I believe he felt happy to see me and Jay industrious. Our industry symbolized hope to him as well as a feeling of connection.  

Driving around Anacortes and witnessing the sheer difficulty my dad had to tackle alone as an elementary school child so early in the morning brought me tears and a sense of profound gratitude. How often can childhood hardship lead in negative directions? I am thankful for my dad’s commitment to hard work and for teaching me its value. 

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. – Proverbs 21:5