Every day I think about my dad. Today is no different from any other in that way, but today I was reminded of one of the many lessons that he taught me. My parents only had girls, and dad especially, never wanted us to rely on anyone but ourselves in this life. Don’t get me wrong, he hoped and prayed that we’d find partners in life that would be just that…partners, and we did, but he never wanted us to be less than self sufficient. It was instilled in us from a very young age. One of the ways he did that was by making us mow the lawn. Yes, I said it. Our dad made us mow the lawn and oh how we hated this chore. We couldn’t even hope for a tan, because he insisted we wear jeans for protection from possible flying debris. We used a push lawn mower, too. There was only a brief time while I was still home that a riding lawnmower was introduced, and there’s a story and a lesson that came with that, too. I’ll save it for another day.
Today was beautiful. I returned home after a workout sweaty and tired and decided that I would tackle our front yard. My husband takes pride in cutting our lawn and honestly, he does an amazing job, so I rarely even think about the task. Well, I’m really good at telling him how great of a job he did, and even better at rewarding him with an ice cold beverage. (it’s the southern lady in me) This afternoon, as I struggled to get the push lawnmower out of the shed and push it to the front yard, I questioned if I was really up for it, but I knew it would be a nice surprise for my husband and I also wanted an excuse to stay outside and avoid any other work, so I pushed on. Since the weather has been warm and gorgeous lately, the grass wasn’t overall bad, but it had sprouts of weeds poking here and there that certainly were not pretty. I guess it’s time to address the weeds that have wondered into our yard, as well. Anyway, halfway through struggling through the front yard I remembered a Saturday long ago. Saturday mornings were the day of the week to cut the lawn, if we were in town. This particular Saturday was one that my teenage self had plans on that had nothing to do with yard work. I remember the angst I felt at having to do this chore before I could leave. I practically ran while I mowed the endless lines of grass in the backyard and in no time I was done. I raced to the back door with a huge smile of relief ready to take a shower and go about my super fun day with my friends, but was quickly greeted by my dad. He met me at the door and turned me around. I was bewildered and confused, but he quickly made me understand. My “super fast” job was not as wonderful as I had thought. He pointed out how I had not overlapped my lines and there were sprigs of grass sticking up all over the backyard. I felt the weight of the world at that moment. Not only did I have to clean those sprigs up, but as part of the lesson he made me cut the whole backyard over again while he watched. I remember fuming inside. How dare he make me do this task again. I had friends to hang out with. I had important things to do. As I finally finished my second round of mowing, my dad greeted me and asked me what I had learned. Begrudgingly I admitted that in my rush I had failed to do a good job. He looked at me with the kindest eyes and said that every job we take on in life should be done the best way we can do it. We should always worry about the quality of our work, because it bears our name. In my haste to mow a quantity of grass in a short time, I had not done a quality job. It was still hard to look at him with understanding then, and at that age, but to this day it has stuck with me. I also remember that he pointed out how great the yard looked after my second attempt. Quality will almost always win over quantity. It’s just one of those lessons on my mind today. Thanks dad.