I remember this like it was yesterday. I had just been hired at the local martial arts school where I trained to be a part-time instructor. I was 15 years old. I was hired to teach 3 days week and my hourly wage at the time was $4.25/hour.
Of course, this was back in 1992.
I was thrilled! I was going to get paid to teach martial arts…something I was happy doing for free.
Side note: I still feel that way today! Teaching martial arts is my dream job and I count my blessing every day I get to do it for a living.
Back to the message. The next morning, I was in the kitchen, getting my breakfast ready when my dad told me he wanted to talk to me. He sat me down and gave me a talk that has stuck with me ever since.
He told me that the school I worked for was counting on me to be there to work certain days and I had to take that responsibility seriously. He told me never to slack off and make some B.S. excuse about why I couldn’t go to work one day.
My dad is a very gruff, to the point, kind of guy. He doesn’t know how to sugar coat anything!
He drilled into me that being “kind of” sick or “not feeling that well” was not a reason to not show up to work. “They hired you. They are counting on you, and you have a responsibility to be there to do your job.”
I got the message loud and clear, and the reason the message sunk in was because my dad lived by that philosophy himself. He never called in sick or ditched work because he was up too late the night before. It just didn’t happen. I can hardly remember him not going to work.
He lead by example. He walked his talk, and I saw it. Message received Pops!
Now for the second message he gave me that morning that continues to impact me to this day. He said, “Craig, you are making your own money now. We aren’t rich people, so when you need or want something…you can pay for it yourself.”
Funny thing, I didn’t think that my dad was being hard on me. Him and my mom were hard workers. They worked hard every day at their jobs and then worked hard on the house during the weekends. They weren’t lazy. They were responsible people.
My dad’s talk taught me the value of money and how important it was to spend it wisely. If I wasted it, I wasn’t going to have the funds to buy what I needed later.
Great lesson! Thanks dad!
My good buddy and training partner, Bill Storm, says all the time that “old school is good school.” He’s right. These are a couple of old school messages that some may say are too hard or too over the top for a 15-year-old. I disagree. They have made me the person that I am, and I am grateful for it.
I don’t think we should ever get away from strengthening the work ethic of today’s youth. We all need to increase our responsibility and be held accountable so we can reach our true potential. This mindset instills discipline.
By the way, the root word of “discipline” is “disciple”, which means to teach. So, by instilling this philosophy in our kids, we are teaching them responsibility. We are teaching them the skills, habits, and mindset to be successful adults later in life.
I don’t tell my dad thank you enough for those lessons. He’s almost 72-year-old now and not in the best of health. His words and example were two powerful influences in my life
Work ethic and don’t be foolish with your money. Got it Pops! Thanks!