A great man Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Don’t pray for lighter burdens, but for stronger backs.” Passed down from generation to generation, too far back to trace, my family has always preached hard work. If I remember one thing from my grandfather and father it is “work hard and you will earn what you deserve.” My dad has worked from the bottom of the chain to the top and I know I am on the right track as well.
Since my dad was a young boy he has always been taught to work hard. Every weekend my grandfather would have him and his brothers do work, from yard work to doing small construction. If there was ever a weekend when construction was slow or when the yard was already clean and needed no work my grandfather would make work. You might ask how could he make work? Simple, you see my grandfather had this wood pile and when there was no work to be done, my dad and his brothers would have to move the pile from one side of the yard to the other. Sounds crazy however, if you were to ask my dad he would tell you it paid off.
From doing construction to correctional facilities my dad has been from the bottom to the top. My dad started work as a young adult doing construction and working weekend jobs wherever he could for any kind of money. He never made much money so he decided to give up the construction work and head into corrections. He began as a correctional officer which is the lowest ranking at a prison. He soon promoted to sergeant and before he knew it he was a captain a few years later. After one short year at sergeant he was promoted to major. All his hard work seemed to be paying off right in front of his eyes. He then was promoted to deputy warden which is the second highest position. After 20 years of working with the Arizona Department of Corrections he decided to retire.
Soon after retirement he received a call asking to be the assistant warden at a private prison, he accepted. Just after two short months of being assistant warden he was promoted to warden which is the highest position. There was all of his hard work, right there, “he had earned what he deserved.” He has now been in the corrections business for almost 30 years and is still working as hard as he ever has before.
Being like his father, my dad preached hard work to myself and my brothers. There I was, just as my dad, mowing the grass every weekend and chopping weeds for as long as I can remember. But now instead of moving wood from one side of the yard to the other, my dad has brick. I haven’t worked all the jobs my dad has but I’ve had my share but there was one particular job that I recall where my hard work paid off just by hearing a few words from my boss…..
There I was, a 15 year old boy among a group of men, timid and maybe you could say shaking in my boots. It was 5:15 when I left my employers house with a group of my fellow employees to head off to a concrete pour. As I sat in the backseat of that old pickup truck cold and silent I kept hearing the older guys talking about me and how I wasn’t ready for this kind of labor although they didn’t know I’d been doing this stuff my whole life. We arrived at the job site and it was just a few minutes before six o’clock and started to unload the tools from the truck. The cement truck arrived a few short minutes later and backed up to the footers and started to drop cement. I started shoving and mixing the cold, heavy cement around the 30x60foot area. As my boss was shocked to see a boy as young as myself working so hard and diligently he started bragging to the older men about how good I was doing compared to them which made them work even harder.
Finally, a few hours later the job was done and it was time to collect my last check for that winter break because I was returning to school the next Monday. As I reached for the check, instead of handing me a check my boss reached out and shook my hand. He went on to tell me how hard of a worker I was and how he appreciated how much I did for him. He welcomed me to come back any time that I had free time. I’ll never forget when he told me “with that kind of work ethic I could go anywhere and do anything that I wanted to.” I collected my check, got in the truck, and headed home. I will never forget those words which my boss said to me that day.
George Halas and I both believe, “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.” Through hard work anything is possible. There is no limit to what you can do when you work your hardest and give everything your all. When you work hard you get a feeling of completion. Finally, it should be known that hard work is often times unnoticed, overlooked, and unseen because it is simply not there. People try to get by doing the minimum not realizing what could be reached when they give everything all they have.
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