It remains astonishing to me how memories from years ago continue to shape my perspective. A decade ago, I went to visit Shaker Village in KY. I was struck by how ahead of their time they were on many issues like racial and gender equality. However, what has stayed with me was the motto “Hands to Work, Hearts to God.”
I thought about this last week when my wife suggested we take turns and shovel the sidewalk to the school. There is about four tenths of a mile of sidewalk along a four-lane road many of the children at the elementary school walk. It had not been shoveled on Tuesday when kids went back to school, and after falling a couple of times, A joined the throng of children walking in the road. My wife and crew joined, but noticed how poorly unsupervised kids walk in one lane and how poorly people drive around the school in their hurry to drop their kids off. So when I got home, she proposed we shovel the sidewalk in shifts with the other taking care of our kids at home. As I shoveled, I thought of the Shaker saying.
I will admit there was a side of me annoyed the school whom we support with our taxes and time along with the community association we support with our dues both passed the buck on shoveling assuming it was the other’s responsibility. At a certain point, it just needs to be done. That point was 8:45pm on Tuesday when we finished.
I will also admit I liked working with my wife. Her inspiration and our perspiration resulted in a safer path, and I like to think that metaphor fits our family life. Who knows? Maybe the memory of parents just making plans to do what needs doing without being asked or paid will stick with my kids. Maybe they will not think of any one time or incident but rather the pattern. That would be the ultimate compliment.
On the cool side, A made the local news this week. We found out when a friend messaged J saying A looked good on the news. The incident had not made an impression on her, but when we showed her she was thrilled…Of course her excitement was not for being on the news but rather because her “boyfriend” P was on the segment, and she was excited for him.