I am sure most of us can remember some "Old Sayings" our parents or grand-parents used to repeat to us day after day. While some of those "Old Sayings" had merit, some were just amusing or down right irksome, like " Eat your vegetables because---" or " When I was a kid I -------."
Whatever thoughts we might have had of the "Old Sayings" at the time, one thing was for sure, they would somehow manage to stick in our heads, and in time, we would often find ourselves repeating some of them.
That is exactly what happened to me one day while I was doing a product demonstration in our local grocery store. I was a couple of hours into the job, which was just handing out free calendars and coupons, and I found it to be very boring. It was not hard work, it was just very tedious, and I found myself watching the clock waiting for lunch so I could take a break from it. After lunch, I just did not have the energy to want to continue for another four hours and I found myself thinking that I would surely have to find a way to cut this day short. It was at that time that one of my Dad's "Old Sayings" popped into my head !
All of a sudden I was not a mature woman standing in a grocery store but I was a little girl of about 8 years washing dishes at our big old sink in my childhood home. I was tired, and bored, and was trying to convince my Dad to let me out of washing the dishes so I could go play. That is when I heard my Dad's voice speaking from behind me:
"When a job is once begun,
never leave it 'til it's done,
be the labor--great or small,
do it well, or not at all."
This poem that my Dad used to recite to me, brought me back to reality. It was one of those "Old Sayings" that had stuck with me all these years and one in which I had tried to base my life upon. I had often recited it to myself in years past while doing mundane jobs and it had always revived me and kept me going. Today was no different! Upon hearing those words again, I decided to do the job well that I had begun and in so doing, I was able to shift my focus from boredom to ingenuity and concentrate on the doing my best with the time I had left.
I began to smile and look for ways to productively pass the time. As I smiled, people smiled back and became interested in my product, and as I shared with them the time seemed to pass faster. I found by not focusing the clock any longer, I was able to focus more on people and that was not boring, in fact it became quite rewarding!
As I began to re-think my strategy, I started to walk around the store instead of just standing in one place, and this brought me into contact with many more people, some of whom I probably would not have been able to contact if I had stayed in my one area. I also came upon people who needed help finding things they had been searching for and I was able to direct them to the products or find a store clerk who could assist them.
Very soon it was time to pack up and go home and instead of being glad that my work day was over, I found myself wishing that I had more time. As I left the store I carried with me the sense of a job well done. I felt I had made an important impact on society that day by my willingness to do a good job, smile, and be helpful to my fellow man.
Thank you, Dad, for this "Old Saying" of yours. It still rings true in my mind and heart and it is a message that I will be pass on to future generations.
May this reflection of mine also be an encouragement to parents and grand-parents today, to keep on trying and not give up even if you feel the things you are teaching your children or grand-children are just falling on deaf ears---some things always stick---you never know which ones they will be, so keep on trying and maybe someday your "sayings" will pop into their heads and help them make it through a difficult day.