Tuesday, August 21, 2018

lessons learned out on the range

this dirty pile greeted me today at the garage door--tyler’s work shirt and boots. smelly and wet. and though both offensive, neither offended, but rather, made me kind of proud.

today is tyler’s last day at his job. though he had a vision of working on a ranch in montana this summer, he, instead, came home from college and worked hard every day landscaping at a golf course. he lived not in a cool, cowboy bunk room, but in our basement, leaving every morning before dawn. kind of out on the range — just not the western, romantic sounding one.

and though i am certain cowboys and golfers can both be great, this blog post isn't really about them, but about hard work.

with hardly a day off these past couple of months, ty has been up and out the door before 5:30 am. sure, this kid loves the outdoors— always has—but this summer, especially, he learned the big difference between a summer spent playing outside and a summer working there. he’s had lots of jobs in the past, but this one demanded the most from him. he’d come home every evening filthy-dirty and completely beat from a physical day working the fairways, the roughs and the bunkers. 

all day long. mowing, trimming, weeding, raking, edging, digging. you get the picture.

funny thing, tyler has a real love for golf. and this summer, his appreciation for the game has grown. but, even more so, i know his appreciation for hard work has grown.

last weekend, i played the par three with my boys. and though they offered their poor, awkward mother tips and hints and many lessons, i was probably most tickled to hear tyler talk about his recently gained experience in  grooming the greens. he has a good understanding of the game, but he also has a new sense of the grit.

as a kid, he grew up watching mike rowe’s dirty jobs. i think we actually owned the entire collection on dvd. i can still hear him and his brother and dad all exclaiming (or gagging) over those episodes of drudgery and disgust. when he was 8, i’m not sure he ever thought much about the possibility of having to work a dirty, back-breaking job himself. 

but i’m glad he got the chance. 

he heads back to college this week. back to the classrooms and the lectures and the library. back to a different kind of learning. but i know—fun or not — this summer has etched in him a new respect for real labor. 

and i’m proud of him.

dirty jobs and hard work---sometimes we shy away from them. i understand. but what a blessing it is when we have the opportunity to gain some much needed reality and responsibility. as parents, i realize this can present a challenge. we want our kids to have happy childhoods and nice lives, but there is so much value in giving them the chance to earn, exert, serve and, yes, even toil.

we certainly haven't done it all correctly in our home, but i can tell you when we have, there has been great benefit and even greater blessing.

walking out on the fairway with your four iron might be a lovely experience. but time spent working in the roughs and bunkers is where we truly gain an appreciation for what we have in this life. 

i love that my son can find real enjoyment and leisure out on the golf range, but i'm grateful that he probably won't ever swing a club again without some thought about the summer he expanded his own range of understanding.

his life game will be better for it.

"may the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us -- yes, establish the work of our hands."  ~ psalm 90:17

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