by: Tim Moomaw

I remember when I was 10-years-old and was put in charge of sewing up thousands of 100 pound burlap potato bags… well maybe 15-20… but it felt like thousands. I was convinced this would be the hardest thing I would ever have to do in my life.  I calculated that if I wanted to finish before I turned 30, I would have to find a way to become more efficient. Since my hands were already sore from sewing bags the day before, I decided that the best plan would be to sew the bags as loosely as possible. I wouldn’t have to pull very hard on the twine that was used for closing the bags, and my hands would not become any more tender. After completing my monumental task in record time, my dad walked by and noticed the huge gaps in every bag. He said that people would not appreciate having potatoes fall out of the bags as they were loaded and it needed to be done again correctly.

On that day I learned three important lessons.

  1. Anger solves nothing (I may have been angered at the thought of starting over).
  2. Use your available assets and be thankful for them (I had 3 other fingers that weren’t blistered).
  3. Doing things right the first time takes a lot less work than doing things twice.

My parents never put me down in any way for jobs poorly done, but they also never let poor workmanship slide. They complimented jobs well done, and graciously pointed out areas that needed improvement.  The lessons I learned that day have carried me far in life. Even though I may not be the most skilled or talented at a given task, just showing up and doing my best with a pleasant attitude often wins out.

***Don’t miss the start of our new series, “Things I Want My Kids to Know” on Sunday at 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30.***