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You are the carpenter, build it right
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Over the last 22 years, the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center has been a place where many of our Pagosa teenagers have held part-time positions.

This aspect of my job — to train them — has been greatly rewarding.

They come to us bright-eyed, eager and generally ready to learn. My full-time staff and I teach them to interact with our family of members; show them how to “sell,” encourage and motivate them; help them develop a concern for safety (theirs and others); encourage them to be efficient; train them to clean and then to keep cleaning.

And, at the end of it all, they leave us wiser, knowing that the world out there is not all easy, chummy and gentle.

Hopefully, they will also have internalized that to be treated well, you need to treat others well.

Other lessons: pick up after yourself; when you do anything, try to do it right and if you are lazy your colleagues will pick up the slack for awhile, but you’ll make no friends.

The following is one of my favorite stories. Let me share it with you:

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave and enjoy a leisurely life with his wife and extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but they could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter agreed, but in time it was clear his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the key to the front door to the carpenter and said, “This is your house. It is my gift to you!”

The carpenter was shocked. What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with all of us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then, with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we’d do it much differently, but we cannot go back. You are the carpenter. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Your attitudes and the choices you make today build the “house” you live in tomorrow.

Build wisely!

Remember: work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody is watching and sing like nobody is listening.