Monday, June 28, 2010
P4E.163 My Dad Always Said: "Work first, then play"
The fact is, I don't remember my father imparting any lasting words of wisdom to me. This may say more about my own poor memory than it does about his lack of words of wisdom. Nevertheless, I just don't remember him routinely letting me know what was important to him that he wanted to pass on to me.
I, in turn, do not remember passing on to my sons any pearls of wisdom. I wonder what I might have routinely said or somehow imparted to them. I know that I did not purposefully make an effort to let them know what I think is important. I did not rummage through my own experience and glean from it important lessons and then pass them on to my sons. This falls into the category of "regrets." I found out yesterday that a friend passed away last weekend. She found out about a month ago that she had stage 4 lung cancer and was gone that quickly. The thing about blogging is that I do have the ability to write about what is important to me.
Still, all is not lost. I'm still kicking. My sons are relatively young (Ben is only 17 and living at home). Amazingly, in spite of my shortcomings as a father, they sometimes ask for advice or perspective. I may yet have a chance to let them know the little pieces of wisdom that I think are important.
So, the first that comes to mind is: "Work first, then play."
It's amazing how easy it is to be hypocritical when it comes to what's important to you. But, my hypocrisy is not the one that might jump to your mind when you hear "Work first, then play." My problem is not with the "Work first" part. It's with the "then play" part.
My parents worked hard. They both worked long and hard. They impressed on me, by their example, to work long and hard. I don't remember them having hobbies. I don't remember sports or music or entertainment of any sort playing a big part of our home. They didn't camp or hunt or fish or go to the desert or the river or the mountains or the beach. They didn't have motorcycles or bicycles or toys of any sort. My memory does not recall much "recreation." Yes, we did have a few vacations, but they were not "annual affairs." We did not travel much for fun. This may have been because we were not well-off when I was growing up.
In any case, I learned "work hard." I chose a profession that is labor intensive; architecture. I chose to be self-employed as soon as I could. I did not have the discipline to work first, then play. I just worked. So, my sons have the same experience that I had growing up. No hobbies. No regular recreation. No hunting or fishing or camping or desert or river or mountains or beach. No vacations. No travel. No fun.
So, this is an encouragement to my sons to do as I say and not as I do. "Work first, then PLAY." I DO believe that it is important to get the work done first. If I procrastinate or delay the work, I find it doesn't get done. If I don't start the work first I find that I realize that I don't have the necessary tools or materials or time or planning to get the work done in the time I allotted. But, part of the important planning to work first is to set aside time and planning to PLAY. There's a saying that goes "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." That's me. Dull Jack.
Anyway, I hope that when I'm gone, my sons will remember that Dad always said, "Work first, then PLAY."
Photo by Clive Reedman found at Flickr