Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to. -Alfred A. Montapert
Some things are very reliable. The love of my wife. Weeds that spring up in the yard after a Spring rain. Two dogs happily greeting me at the door when I walk in. Saturday mornings meeting my four friends for a prayer-hike in the park. A request from my boss four times a year to work overtime to get an end of Quarter shipment of ‘widgets’ to make our numbers. And my affirmative response. Perhaps it was the Boy Scouts fault.
“On my honor I will do my best: 1. To do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the scout …” Boy Scout Oath
It was a rainy morning, and I had to bribe Comet and Dexter with dog biscuits, and “promises of a walk later in the day” so our routine Saturday hike would not bring all the mud and brush back in the leather interior of my car. Then the promise would also set for me a stopping point at work. While I had enough things to busy myself at home, it was a career in the Navy that helps me say “yes”. And a supportive spouse to encourage me.
“….and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me. I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy….” – from the Sailor’s Creed
And then again, it was a tradition in my family to work diligently. A specialized skill that permitted me to earn a good income for my family.
For My father would tell me, “Get a good education. That will get you a better job, such as engineering, and it will provide for you and your family.”
Ironically, I tried engineering in college and was not very disciplined to master it. I joined the Navy and went into a technical career in electronics. Twenty-five years later I work as an engineering technician for a manufacturer. Yet I also have my mother to thank, “What you are really good at, what you have an aptitude and a passion for, will make you successful. Excel at what you do and you will be happy.”
And here am I, in middle age, telling my adult sons to excel at what they have a passion for, but channel that into a career that can provide for themselves and for family. Be reliable, honest, diligent and capable. It is a lot easier to have “biscuit money” and happily walk your dogs in the rain, than to be forced, financially speaking, to spend rainy days and Saturdays working to keep the wolves from your door.