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I slump into my chair after another long day of sweat and hard work. My body is physically exhausted, but I have never felt more alive mentally. I completed another house and there is not a better feeling than watching the transformation of a dirt lot into a million dollar home. I know I have provided a comfortable home for a couple that will raise a family in my piece of work. In a way it’s a feeling of legacy.
Forever my work will be someone’s childhood home.
I take a deep breath as my wife walks in the door of our modest home, perhaps half the size of the one I just built, with my seven year old son. He runs over and jumps on my lap. My wife walks over and puts her arms around my neck. I flash back to a sunny Monday morning late in June. School is out for the summer and I finally get the chance to go to work with my dad, my hero.
I run out of my room as soon as the first ray of sunshine hits the window.
My father is in the kitchen filling up a water jug with my mother right next to him making a couple sandwiches to take with us. Barely hiding my excitement, I sneak into the small gap between my parents, and wrap an arm around each one of their legs. My dad throws me on his shoulder as we walk through the front door for my first taste of work in the real world.
My wife brings me back to reality with a kiss on the cheek. She takes my son back into his room to get him ready for bed.
I hear suppressed giggles as my son tries to fall asleep with the thought of getting to go to work with his father the next morning. My wife emerges from the shadows with a contagious smile on her lips. She relays the excitement my child was exhibiting about a day spent with his dad. I find myself in my father’s truck on that bright June morning headed for my first job site. My dad begins his teachings that would spread out over the next ten years. My first lesson was something every child my age was excellent at: curiosity. “It’s the first step in becoming a good business man,” he informed me. “Unfortunately,” he continued “a lot of kids lose their curiosity as they get older.”
That first day I learned it is imperative to chase dreams and walk down different paths of life because I never know where it may lead. I have to be curious to lead my own business. Curious about different options or other ways to more efficiently run my company. It was a simple lesson that even a seven year old can understand. Throughout my younger years these business tips were sporadically mixed in with the grueling labor that was rewarded with the satisfaction of the completion of a project.
I learned to be a creative visionary. Not every home owner knows exactly what they want. I had to be prepared to offer suggestions and see what the house was going to be before it was created. The most important one, however, was the importance of self-motivation. Being the owner of my own company comes with a lot of responsibility; it would not always be easy to wake up in the morning and drag myself to work, but in order to succeed I needed to overcome that feeling.
I lay awake counting the number of times the blades of my ceiling fan spun in a full circle. The weight of the responsibility of passing these same lessons onto my child was sitting on my chest. This was the same age when the seemingly irrelevant business lessons were passed to me.
I later discovered these small talks were less about business than life in general. I take my son by the hand as his mother gives us each a kiss on the forehead. I walk out the front door and turn back and see my wife standing in the doorway that I built. I realize this modest life style revolved around family my dad vigorously promoted was the reason for my endless happiness. My son tugs on my pant leg. In one motion I swept him up onto my shoulder. It is time for me to continue my role as father, teacher, and hero.
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