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There are always lessons to be learned in the summertime

Published 10:02am Wednesday, June 4, 2014

While on a recent trip to Savannah for our annual Methodist Convention, I saw a headline in USA Today that really caught my eye. It was entitled “Tobacco’s Hidden Children.” I might not have written the column as well as the USA Today author (Tom Young), but I felt that I could have written one like it.
I laughed at first. Young wrote about a report from Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch is an international organization that has as its mission a defense of people, worldwide. It investigates abuses and situations where the “powerful” take advantage of the “weak.” There is nothing wrong with that concept, although some may differ with their definitions of who is powerful and who is weak.
In essence, their report set forth the opinion that no person under the age of 18 should be forced to “do work that involves contact with tobacco in any form.” I thought, “Where was Human Rights Watch when I was of the age from 8 until 18?” I spent many years in the fields of our farm with that dastardly crop and others. Maybe that’s my problem! Doesn’t everyone need an excuse as to why they are the way they are?
I used to feel sorry for myself because when summer came, there were so many jobs around the farm that needed to be done. My brother and I were in some kind of field always no matter how hot it was. The work was there and so were we. Daddy needed help and there was no reason for two boys who could work to be allowed to just goof off.
There is an irony these days. Now, I feel sorry for all the young school-age children, and those capable of working because they don’t have all that field work or other kinds of work to do. The lessons learned in early years, particularly in the areas of work and responsibility, are invaluable throughout our lives.
It’s very telling in our country’s current state of affairs that we have lots of people who haven’t had the opportunity to learn the lessons of work. Work is learned behavior and the younger the lessons are learned, the better.
The author of the USA Today article made the point that he is still reaping the rewards of those lessons. Me too. Here are a few of them.
There is the lesson of expectations. I was a part of a family and, as a result, there was a roof over my head, food on the table, and love around the table. At the same time, I was expected to help in all the ways I could with that roof over my head and that food on the table. I learned that there was no such thing as a free ride.
Another lesson was that there was accountability. The job was evident and I was expected to do the job. Once shown how to do the job, I was held accountable to do what I could. Daddy knew my capabilities and never asked me to do anything he wouldn’t do or anything I could not do. Nike did not create the slogan “Just do it.” Daddy did.
He was the boss and that’s the final lesson I will mention. I learned that life has expectations and accountability and bosses. Those are some good lessons!

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