When I was a young girl, everyone in my family had some type of chore to do. My family from both my fathers and mothers sides was farmers. They utilized the soil to grow grain for the winter’s supply of feed for the farm animals. Mother planted a plentiful garden and we children spent our summer vacations away from school, canning vegetables, which we stored on shelves in the basement. Work was a way of life but the rewards of having the silo filled, the grain bins full and the hay stacked to the barn rafters were so self-gratifying to my father. To mother, and the rest of us, it was pleasing to take stock of the rows of canning jars sitting full on the shelves in the basement. They were so colorful with all the various kinds of vegetables that could be eaten right from the jar, if one wanted to do so.
I observed early on that hard work was necessary to yield the necessities to make one’s life comfortable. There were times when I resented helping do the chores around the farm, and would throw a fit, while remarking, “All we ever do is work around this place.” The chores had to be carried out every day. There was no getting out of it unless you came down with some type of mysterious illness, which happened to me on occasion.
During the summer, we often swam in the pond in the evenings after all the barn work was completed and the cows were left out to pasture. How refreshing that water felt against my clammy skin. I would paddle around the edges of the pond perched inside of an old inner tube that Dad had pumped up for me.
I have many memories, of my father getting up at 5:00 in the morning, awakened by the roosters crowing. He would come down from the upstairs with his barn clothes on. He would make that twice-daily journey to the barn. As he passed through the kitchen door, following the path that led from the house, he had to go down a slight incline and across the footbridge that he had built across the creek, which flowed away from the farm pond. He would feed and milk the cows. By that time in the morning, they were bellowing quite loudly, to let him know they were anticipating his arrival. When he was done with the milking and feeding he came to the house and mother would have a big breakfast waiting on the kitchen table. After breakfast, he would go to the fields to mow hay or combine the oats depending on what time of year it was. There was always something to do to keep the farm running smoothly.
Watching him– work the way he did was instilling within me a work ethic that I was unaware of until I was much older. When I started my first job, I found that I wanted to do it efficiently because I felt a sense of satisfaction, when my supervisor threw out a few words of praise. I have found myself going the extra mile to accomplish a job well done, even by my standards. I have to admit, there were times where I felt a tad bit lazy and hurried to get the task at hand done.
I have discovered for myself that hard work pays a good salary, whether it is in the workplace or around the home. The rewards are beneficial to being happy and secure. One can lay their head on their pillow at night and sleep contently.
Now I find myself in college and the workload is steep. I have to spend hours studying to educate myself in the material that is presented to me from the textbooks. I find that there is a sense of gratification when I get a test score of an A or B. The inward impression that I feel is if I work hard, I will succeed in learning the material and make good grades. I can attribute the dedication to hard work to my parents especially my father for instilling within me a good work ethic. He departed from this world last April but his spirit lives on through me, my brothers, sisters, plus our children. The greatest lesson I acquired from him was to put your whole heart into your work and do your best job for the rewards will be great. Yes, I believe hard work is inherent in our lives.
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