Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

"You work for Torchwood?" - The Doctor, Doctor Who


The construction crews building this new intersection must get a lot of joy out of this work – they’ve been doing it for two years.

One of the joys of parenting (outside of sending them to bed so that The Mrs. and I can watch movies that have cursing of a stronger vintage than “shucky-darn” and characters that aren’t animated talking animals solving hopelessly contorted and implausible crimes involving the old deserted amusement park) is watching my children learn the important lessons. Oh, not the ones that involve how to win a knife fight against drunken bikers, but in this case the importance of work.

Perhaps the most important lesson that Pop Wilder taught me (outside of how to handle myself in a knife fight against drunken Old West bank robbers – Pop is old enough to have voted for Roosevelt – Teddy, not that young whippersnapper Franklin) is that work is a good thing.

Yes, I know that work is something I’m supposed to avoid since it cuts into time that I could use to eat Pez®, but frankly, I like to do most work. There’s something about the feeling of accomplishment that I get when I finally mow the last foot of hedge or mop the last square foot of lawn. There’s a bit of a Zen feeling of completeness – of satisfaction from doing something, doing it well, but most of all, finishing it. This is similar (I think) to the feeling that heads of large banks feel when they get lots of government money for free.

On Saturday I grabbed The Boy and we went outside to work. Last year when we had bagged massive amounts of savagely ripped apart plant matter, The Boy had complained bitterly over everything from the temperature, (“My face is melting”) to his tools (“I think I’m allergic to trash bags”). This time? He worked quickly, quietly, with the exception that he said, “I like working” several times. The Boy even put his gloves back in the shop when he was done, rather than let them sit out to rot on the concrete, as is more usual. The Boy still has a little ways to go when it comes to initiative, and empty pop cans appear to be invisible, or perhaps artifacts of nature that should never be disturbed. “That’s an endangered A&W® root beer can in its native environment. Be quiet!”

Learning to like working is what it’s all about. So much of our lives (unless you are Paris Hilton) revolve around work – work is one way that we can add significance to the actions we take and make the world a better place, filled with meaning and joy. Unless you’re Paris Hilton. Or the head of a major bank. Or in Congress.

I still remember Ma Wilder telling me that I would appreciate things more if I paid for them, although I thought her rent increase when I turned eight was just a bit much. But, really, Ma was right. I did appreciate them more, but more than that, they were mine, and I wasn’t beholden to anyone for them. Of course, as soon as I could buy fireworks, I then discovered that I could also make the things I’d scrimped and saved for explode, which was, perhaps, even more fun.

So, The Boy happily picked up, cleaned, fetched, carried, and didn’t complain a bit. For about six hours of his time, The Boy figured I should pay him about $5. Actually, he’s worth more, and given that his rent is due to increase soon, I might even chip in a $10 for this weekend. He’ll need to start saving for knives.
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Blogger Dame Koldfoot said...

Could it be that the Boy's newfound work ethic is a result his recent head injury?

9:17 PM  
Blogger John said...

Dame Koldfoot,
Perhaps it is, but I'm hoping not in the Danny Kaye or Jerry Lewis 1950's movie wherein they revert to their former selves. I'm still crossing my fingers that when they pulled the staples out they left the one in that controls work ethic. Which, by the way, also seems to shut down whining. Whodathunk?

7:49 PM  

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