where character counts and integrity is the keystone

Personal Story, Quote

Holmes, Greatly Pursued

Every calling is great, when greatly pursued.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

In our lives there is work. If you are religious and either Jewish or Christian then you might recognize Genesis 3:9 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread”. We learn, hopefully, from our youth that work is part of life. To make any gains in life we must work. Household chores were a common staple in the house I grew up in. My parents believed in a healthy dose of work and responsibility. I honestly can’t remember when my mother started us helping around the house. I know that I had chores. I had to take out the trash, clean my own room, wash dishes by hand, mow the lawn, rake the leaves, clean up after my siblings, wash windows, and even laundry. At age 12, I took up a paper route and worked hard for 2 months. I made really good money selling subscriptions. Then, my mother bade me quit. (Which is a longer story for another time.) After that, we moved to Germany and I worked summers in the Army’s student work program, babysat for (parents) friends and neighbors, and at 16 or 17 I started working for AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange Service). Think of it as a department store … I was a teller, who also worked in the stock room and doing other tasks.

In fact, I had learned to work. My dad had taught me that. I can remember one summer in Maryland when I was about 13. My dad asked me and my brother what we were doing on Saturday and we answered I don’t know (or nothing). He then responded that we were helping a guy in his unit move. I only remember that it was in Baltimore, MD. He lived on the third floor and we were carrying things down the stairs. I don’t remember much from that day. I do remember 2 lessons I learned.

  1. An honest days work for an honest days pay
  2. Integrity

So, this is what happened …

We worked. The soldier we were helping, had candy jars on the counter in his kitchen. He told us that we could have whatever we wanted. My parents taught us to always ask. At one point in the day, I grabbed a single Hershey Kiss and I ate it. Then I went back to work. Once the work was done, dinner was ordered and delivered . We sat on the carpeted floor eating dinner. We were tired and had worked hard. On the way home my father said that he was proud of us and that we had worked hard. Then he said, “an honest days work for an honest days pay”. I was sitting in the back seat. I knew then that taking that Hershey Kiss without asking was wrong. I could feel it in my soul and I knew it. My father didn’t learn of this experience until I was a man. It is a formative experience in my life.

Each of us can pursue the things that interest us, we have the freedom to choose our occupation. We can engage in work that brings us happiness. I have worked with and in the IT (computer) industry. I love computers and I love technology. It has made finding work and working enjoyable. Not every job has been perfect; yet, I enjoy the work I have engaged in.

When we pursue our calling (in life) we make it great! When we have integrity in our life and work we make a difference.

iron wil

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