“We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly.” – 1 Corinthians 4:12-13a
Here’s a dichotomy I challenge many fathers: Are you doing work worth doing? We often talk ourselves into thinking that it is, but the sad reality is that many dads are stuck in a rut, they hate their jobs, and they don’t feel empowered to leave it.
Is it fair to say that most dads are earning a living at work that has little value? I know a lot of guys who would testify to that. In my own personal journey — spanning the past 20 years of working — I have graduated through the following stages.
1. Work that makes money.
Isn’t this how we’re conditioned to think? Through high school and college, all my ambitions were premised with, “I need a good job.” Translation: “I need a job that pays enough.”
I’m convinced that this conditioning is far from ideal. In fact, I would argue that a man starting off from the ideal of making money will often end up in a rut. They will not entertain a career change or a more pleasant job because, well, it doesn’t pay enough.
2. Work we’re good at.
This digs a little deeper to a healthier view of work. I recall enjoying business (this was my original college major) but I had teaching skills that were not common among my classmates. I ended up choosing English education as my major, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1993. I was good at teaching, and I excelled at it.
Through my 20’s I began to recognize that what I was good at didn’t always measure up to what I loved. There were many exhausting things that I didn’t really enjoy about teaching. I loved engaging students lives and teaching critical thinking skills, but I dreaded grading papers and repetitive administrative tasks associated with public education.
3. Work we love.
Here’s where I think all guys should be. Do the work you love. A man who claims they love their work is a fulfilled man living in joy and with purpose.
It is interesting to note how what I love is wrapped up in making money and what I’m good at. I love creating environments of learning. I’m an administrator of sorts, a writer and printer of curriculum for academic excellence, a director of thousands of homeschool families in how to set up a speech and debate curricula.
And this ends up being work worth doing. I’m motivated to work hard at it. I hope only for the same in others’ lives.
To get a glimpse at what I love, see www.trainingminds.org.