Bird is the Word: Hands on – An honest day’s work is worth pursuing

June 2016 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

Kali-MartinBy Kali Ramey Martin

One of the main reasons I like being a part of a small, rural community is knowing people who still work with their hands.

People who own small or family-run businesses, who do the work themselves, who build things from scratch or grow food from seeds.

The jobs are often far from glamorous, but for a lot of people there’s a simple satisfaction that comes from good, hard, manual labor.

For some reason, perhaps our parents having the good intentions of giving us a “better life,” careers that involve a trade or craft, manual labor or working with your hands, weren’t really encouraged in my generation.

It seems like we all grew up hearing, “you need to go to college so you can have more opportunities,” and I totally understand the thinking there, but what about all of the career paths that will be left behind as droves of millennials head towards life in a cubicle?

Why would we want people who do incredibly important jobs such as farmers, contractors, plumbers, carpenters, painters and electricians, feeling like they’re just the leftovers who couldn’t hack it in the corporate world?

‘Aspire to live quietly,
to mind your own affairs and to work
with your hands.’
– 1 Thessalonians 4:11

Shouldn’t we be just as intent on sending our kids towards careers so important to the survival of our society and quality of life as we are about sending them to an office with a water cooler?

And for that matter, shouldn’t we be teaching them how satisfying it is to do an “honest day’s work”?

There’s a lot to be said for putting in a good, hard day’s work and going home at the end of the day physically, not just mentally, tired There’s a lot of people who weren’t made to sit at a computer all day and don’t feel fulfilled in an office environment.

It took me a while to figure it out, but I’m definitely one of those people.

Despite majoring in English at a good liberal arts university and heading straight for a nice, corporate job in the marketing industry, I pretty quickly found myself bored, unfulfilled and depressed.

The job that has brought me – by far  the most satisfaction often involves being covered in food up to my elbows and sweating over a hot grill on a warm summer night.

I come home at the end of the day with nothing on my mind but being at home. I prep, I cook, I clean, but then I get to leave it at the door.

The food industry is a lot of hard work, and for some strange reason, not very good pay, but there’s nothing quite like cleaning the kitchen at the end of the night, knowing you’ve just fed 300 people.

Glamorous, no. Satisfying, definitely.

As my husband and I think about our little family and our experiences with the corporate world versus small businesses, I feel confident in saying that we’ll try to give our kids a clear picture of both sides.

We’ll encourage them to pursue an education for the enrichment of their hearts and minds, but also learn the value of a good day’s work making something with their hands.

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