I was raised in a working-class family who had risen out of Depression Era poverty. Most of our neighbors were either poor or slowly rising to middle-class status. Our exposure to rich people was rare.
My father rose before daylight to head to a manufacturing job and arrived home in the late afternoon. For many years he worked six days per week. His work clothes at the end of the week stunk with sweat and stuff from work. In about thirty years or so of working, there were few days my Dad took for sick days.
My Dad did not love his job, he retired almost as soon as he could. But he loved his family.
We always had a garden. We raised some of our own meat. We ate a little wild game. If we had it, we shared it. My parents threw very few things away.
Most of the paid improvements to our country home were when one of our neighbors needed a little work. Our house was out-of-square but my parents’ reputation was well-rounded.
The Apostle Paul outlined some things about work and living to the Church at Thessalonica:
2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 NKJV
(10) For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.
(11) For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.
(12) Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
(13) But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.
Some of the things I learned from my working-class family:
- Not working is not an option.
- Any job is better than no job. Do something.
- Take the job you can get until you can do better.
- It’s easier to get a better job if you already have a job.
- All work is honorable, if it is legal and not a sin.
- There are some people who are not physically or mentally able to work; after those two categories everyone else for the most part are just lazy.
- Don’t complain, be thankful for what you have.
- If you study hard and work hard, you can make it.
- Wives and mothers who work at home are essential workers.
- No one owes you anything, if you want it; work for it.
- Put in a full day’s work for a full day’s wage.
- At the table, take what you will eat. Eat all you take.
- Treat everyone with respect. What goes around, comes around.
Work hard, waste little, be a giver not a taker, treat people with respect, love Jesus, love your neighbor—it’s really that simple. Start there, end there, and you will find a reward on earth and in Heaven.
Yours on the Journey,
Harry L. Whitt