The other day I was taking my son to the bus stop. We live on a cul-de-sac which requires us to drive (or walk) the quarter of a mile to meet the bus at the main road. I was doing the usual turn-around so we could park along the side of the street and out-of-the-way.
As I was backing up, my son asked about all the debris that was left over from the trash pick up. He wanted to know why there was trash in his friend’s yard.
“Oh honey, that’s because the recycling guys dropped it or the wind blew it out of the bins.”
“Why didn’t they pick it up?” he asked.
“Sometimes people just don’t care. They don’t put in the extra effort,” I replied.
“Well if you signed up, you should care.”
It was the kind of comment that stops you immediately. So insightful. So honest. It was plainly stated and he didn’t realize there were layers to what he had said.
I’m not one to miss a teachable moment so I told him he was absolutely right. And he should remember that if he ever gets a job he doesn’t like but is necessary. Or if that job is taking him to the next phase of his life.
You should always care.
There is no shame in running a trash or recycling truck. It’s a job. You’re earning a paycheck. You are working for your money. It might not be your dream job but it might be the vehicle to get you where you want to go.
My son got on the bus without a second look but his comment stayed with me for a good chunk of the day.
I thought about the crappy jobs I’ve had, the things I had agreed to that I just didn’t want to do. Even some of the reluctant decisions I had to make.
Last July, I decided to close the doors to my office. Being a massage therapist offers me the flexibility of time and location. So closing the doors to my office didn’t mean shutting down the business. I just had to restructure how I was going to do things. The office was surviving solely on income generated by the business so losing it wasn’t a concern.
The concern was running myself into the ground just to have the business support itself.
Having small children didn’t allow me the luxury of being able to work all day in an office. So for me to really turn a profit there (while paying rent), I needed to be able to work more than nights and weekends. After chatting up my clients and realizing a majority of them were completely thrilled to have me come to their homes – it was a no brainer. Maintain the same income + save big on rent = smart move.
At first, lugging all my gear from house to house was a big pain. It wasn’t ideal and it required more time. I enjoyed the quiet of my office* and having everything I could ever want at my fingertips. By going mobile, it would have been easy to care less and be miserable the whole time but eventually it would’ve led to a poor attitude, lack of quality work, and eventually a loss of clientele.
In hindsight, closing the doors was the best decision I could’ve made.
I have freed up my schedule and finances. I altered how much stuff I carry and was able to assess what I truly needed to give a good massage. Had I not cared it would’ve turned out very differently.
We could apply this logic to parenting as well. Believe me, there are days when I’d love to throw in the towel. But raising kids is what I signed up for… and I should care. And hearing my son say these words so matter-of-factly is what makes it all worth it.
*You parents should be able to relate to the desire and strong need of a place to retreat to – even if it is to work.
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