Life is a do-it-yourself project

  • Published
  • By Chaplain, Maj Trent C. Davis
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Chapel
 "A person of character in peace is a person of courage in war. Character is a habit. A daily choice of right and wrong. It is a moral quality which grows to maturity in peace that is not suddenly developed in war," said British Army General Sir James Glover.

Have you ever considered giving less than your best? Have you been tempted to leave a job undone or half-done?

Years ago, I remember a college professor sharing, "It is the student's job to find the minimum amount of work in order to earn the best grade they could in the class." He went on to say, "it was [his] job as the professor to challenge his students to do the greatest amount of work for the grades they earn." My hope is that as Airmen, spouses, fathers, mothers, and neighbors in this great community, we offer those around us more than our minimum.

When it comes to work ethic, a short story I heard a while back about a carpenter comes to mind.

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They would have just enough to get by.

The employer was sorry to see him go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you." What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done things differently. Now he had to live in a home he built so poorly.

So it is with us. We are, at times, willing to put up less than our best. At important points we do not give the job our very best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have helped to create and find that we are now living in the "shoddy house" that we built. If only we had realized at the beginning, then we would have done things differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think of your life as the house. Remember the tools you need to be a success; integrity first, service before self and excellence in all you do. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only house you will ever build. Remember, life is a do-it-yourself project, so do it to the best of your ability.