Supporting Role

Last week, I moved back to the assembly line due to a delay on my current project. This has been a challenge as I have not worked on the line in about a year. The greatest challenge is adapting physically to the demands of the job. The transition from an eight hour day mostly behind a computer to ten-plus hours building cars has left me eagerly anticipating my next foam rolling session.

One of the jobs I have been assigned is a subassembly task. For two and a half hours, it is my responsibility to prepare parts and deliver them to the main assembly line. It is viewed by some as one of the easier jobs on the line. There are no risks of getting a defect for poor quality, but there is a risk of not having enough parts to the line at the right time. I have done this job twice, and both times I have been amazed by how much pressure there is to move as fast and efficiently as possible. I take every job I do seriously, and the same applies to this one. Not getting the parts to the line can stop production, which is costly. Associates have to work harder to get the line moving again. The longer the line is down, the greater the chances of all of us not being able to meet the target production number. When we don’t hit our goal, we have to stay later to make it up. Even this “easy” job is important.

I didn’t imagine going back to the line. For the last four years, I have been on projects preparing for the future. I always imagine how I can move up in a company, but now I am back where I began seven years ago. It is a humbling experience but also a reminder. I work at the pleasure of this company. I go where the management tells me to go. They are the ones that pay me, and so I do what is required.

I remember completing Infantry Basic Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. After eight weeks, my platoon was informed of our future. Even though we scored high on our entrance tests to the military, we were not the smart ones. We all went in with open infantry contracts, and now we were all going to be mortarmen.

When I found out I was going to be a mortarman, I was devastated. It is not what I imagined I would be doing as an infantry soldier. I wanted to be in the front, a light fighter. Instead, I would be in the back supporting them instead. I still had a chance. I could go to light unit. After four weeks of mortar training, I received my job assignment. I would be going to Fort Stewart, home to the Third Infantry Division (Mechanized). I would not be a light fighter, I was going to support a heavy Armor unit.

I wanted the glory and the action. I wanted to jump out of airplanes and helicopters. I wanted to ruck through the jungles and sleep on the ground. Instead I was sent to the back and given an armored vehicle that offered no protection. Even my platoon sergeant told me it would be safer to jump out and run if we ever saw the enemy.

It was not what I imagined when I joined the Army. I became disillusioned and did not appreciate the responsibility I had been given. I was to provide fire support for scouts and tankers that got into a jam and needed help. It was my duty to make sure the ones on the front lines got out okay. Of course I did my job, but I never really embraced it.

How you do anything is how you do everything. –Bedros Keuilian

As I work supplying parts to the line this Bedros Keuilian quote keep playing in my mind.  I have a clear picture of what my future looks like and the person I am working on becoming. Everything I do is significant. If I do something half-way in my personal life, I will not reap the full rewards that I desire. I don’t want to leave any stones unturned in my private life. Publicly and professionally, my dedication should be the same way. I have to be able to grind it out, work smart and efficiently, and all with a good attitude.

What the Army taught me, and what I am appreciating now, is that there is much honor in serving others. I don’t have to be in the front. I don’t even have to be doing the things I imagined. Being in a supporting role is important. Others are depending on you. Others are also watching you. They will notice when you have a poor attitude and are despondent. It will show in the quality of your work. They will also notice when you are positive and committed to doing a good job. They will see your hustle and maybe even admire your example, inspiring them to perform with equal intensity. As a servant to the mission and your team, you will be leading.

Regardless of the role in which you find yourself remember, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

Dig Deep, Stand Tall, and Give Back

Photo by Richard Upchurch Photography
Photo by Richard Upchurch Photography

Carl Jung said, “No tree can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell. When I first read this quote, I believe I understood it. You have to go to hell and survive. Do this, and you will have what it takes to make it to heaven. This was an interpretation I could relate to. So many times I have gone through a version of hell, and yet I am still alive. I am still here, sometimes just barely escaping. But every time, I have survived. This way of thinking made me tougher, more resilient, and yet, I never felt I was getting ahead. I was only surviving, waiting for my next plunge into the depths. Is this really my existence, to be a lone tree in a water-forsaken desert?

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a co-worker about this quote. He said that the pastor at his church discussed it in a recent sermon. According to his pastor, a tree has to dig down to prevent the elements, such as wind, from pushing it over. The stronger the winds, the deeper the tree has to dig. As the tree grows bigger, more strength is needed to hold onto the earth. If this tree is going to reach the heights of heaven, its roots will have to reach the depths of hell. My co-worker’s words made me reconsider my viewpoint on Jung’s quote.

Dig Deep. Last night, I was watching Wild Australia on Animal Planet with my six year-old son. The segment covering Koala bears was introduced with a discussion about the very unique eucalyptus tree. In order for the eucalyptus to survive in such a harsh environment as Australia, its roots have to go really deep. Why? Water. Without water, the tree would not exist, and the only place it can find water is deep within the earth. Water is a basic element, a source of life for all us.

If we want to live, to prosper, we have to tap into the source of life. We have to dig deep to find our meaning for existence, so that we do not become victims of our own harsh climate. Without this foundation, we would find ourselves susceptible to the elements and run the risk of toppling over.

Stand Tall. Compared to a forest, a tree is small. Its chances of survival is small. The seed is fragile. It needs water, soil, and heat to sprout. Competition is fierce for a young sapling. It is contending with other saplings and adult trees for a few precious resources. Can it get enough nutrients to emerge beyond the weeds that would gladly choke it out? As it grows, it will have to carve out its own space among the other trees. In order for it to get the most sunlight, it is going to have to grow the tallest. It is going to have to prevent the competition from crowding it out. It is going to have to move from wanting to survive, to wanting to thrive.

Isn’t it in our nature to desire the same thing? We are all looking for our place in this world, a space we can call our own. The competition is fierce. To get the job we want, we have to be better than the others looking for that same position. We have to make ourselves desirable to have the friends we want and ultimately the spouse we hope for. We have to be our best or we run the risk of being overshadowed by the rest of the forest. The higher you want to go, the deeper you will have to reach within yourself.

Give Back. The biggest tree is the biggest provider for others. It provides food and shelter to a whole host of animals and insects. The more it grows, the greater its ability to give more. At no time does the tree hoard its bounty. The tree does what is in its nature and as a result there are a multitude of benefactors.

As we grow, as we take from the earth and the very source of life, is there any greater calling than to give back? As we mature and age, others begin to look to us for shelter and sustenance. Our families, our employees, and our friends count on us to be there, to be a bastion of security and hope. But a tree doesn’t only provide for its own, it gives freely to any that desires its shelter. In a similar fashion, we should learn from this example and come to a place in our lives where we can give to any in need, not from compulsion but from our own good will. Not only would we be reaching for heaven, we would provide an opportunity for others to find their own way.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. –Winston Churchill

Often I find myself in my own world left to my own thoughts. I don’t usually find myself in a conversation of this magnitude with a co-worker. This conversation challenged my beliefs and provided an opportunity to create new ones. My former belief –an acceptance of my inevitable return to hell hoping to find a way to escape –was one of overcoming a continuous cycle of failure. My new belief is a call to action, going beyond survival and into a new realm where it is possible to thrive. For this I am grateful.

Follow Your Calling

I am reminded of two lessons from the Bible:

  1. The children of Israel was a nation poised to be an enduring world super-power. They had everything going for them. They had all the chances in the world to maximize their full potential. But over and over again, they let those opportunities go. Instead of keeping their focus on the future and the great rewards that the future had to offer, they chose to indulge in the immediate gratification found in the present. They didn’t have the patience to wait. When the dust settled, their prophecies came true.
  2. Jonah was called by God to do a mission. He ran away. The result: he got swallowed by a big fish and vomited back up on the shore (Jonah 2:11).

From these two stories in the Bible, there is a lesson that can be learned. Whether or not our calling is divine, we should listen to it.

I can’t imagine God put us on this earth to be ordinary. –Lou Holtz

Do you ever wonder what exactly is your purpose on this earth? It is something I think about often. If there is such a thing as a calling, such a thing as destiny, I feel that I have one. I also feel that there has been many times I have run away from that calling. The things I am supposed to do in this life requires practice and time. But recently, I have noticed a disturbing trend in my life. When opportunities present themselves at work, I am quick to to put in for them. These are not promotions, but they are positions that will require more time from me. They will require more time away from the things I believe I should be doing. I can’t think of any legitimate reason why I would be doing this except that I am resisting my calling. This as Steven Pressfield writes over and over again in The War of Art is resistance. Resistance telling me to put it off and wait until later, until I am older. This is procrastination.

Procrastination is a dangerous thing. Ignoring your calling is even more dangerous. Eventually there will come a time when the things you are putting off lose their importance. Run away from your calling long enough, and you may find an inability to hear it again in the future. It would be better to be swallowed by a fish and vomited back up on the shore. But in this day and age, we may not be so fortunate to have God act in such a direct way. Therefore it is imperative that when we hear our calling we don’t ignore it. Our individual destinies are calls to action. If we can keep the end rewards in sight and forego the temptations found in the present, we can go from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Planning For Tomorrow

I had goals for the weekend, but they were loose one. I didn’t have any concrete plans. There were a few things I wanted to do: workout, work around the house, and get in some writing. From a planning standpoint, this was a failure. When looking back on what I accomplished over the weekend, I may have scored a 60%. Failure. I got in all my workouts. Those were already planned out in advance. I may have got about 75% of the chores around the house completed. In terms of writing, I scored a big fat ZERO.

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What’s going on with my writing? Almost every day, I have been putting entries into my journal. In addition to my journal, I have been writing on printer paper with the goal of filling up at least the front if not both sides. What I have not been doing is getting these pages typed up, revised, or published. Some of this is due to my current work schedule, but in reality that is a lame excuse. As Epictetus says, “If you want to be a writer, write.” And that is in essence what writers do, they write. Why? Because they make it a priority.

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. –Steven Covey

Right now, I am not committing enough time for my writing. I am trying to fit it in when I can and then possibly catch up on the weekends. And this is a bad plan, because my writing on the weekend is not happening. I need to make this a priority. I need to go back and look at my goals and create a plan I can adhere to. I need to do better.

How do I do this? How do I become more successful in accomplishing the things I want to accomplish? If I want to win in the long run, I need to win each day. To win each day, I need to make a plan. It does me no good to make a plan on the day of. I need to make it in advance. To win each day, I need to make a plan the night before.

To be prepared is half the victory. –Miguel Cervantes de Saavedra

I usually write in my journal in the morning. It is for the most part a once a day process to get some thoughts out of my head. Occassionally, I write in it at night. But this rare, unless something is really on my mind. I need to make to night time journaling a regular process, and it needs to be done strategically to plan out my next day’s goals. Every night before turning in for the night, I need to write specific goals for three categories.

  1. Body. What am I planning on accomplishing physically? This should be simple, but there has been a few times I woke up in the morning and put together a makeshift workout. Doing this is not strategic and often wastes precious time in the morning. Having my routine ready to go the night before may speed me up 15-30 minutes.
  2. Soul. In terms of my soul, I really consider this a matter of the heart. What am I going to do to become a better human being? When I think of the heart, I think of bravery, courage, love, character, and discipline. Most likely my writing goal will fit in here as well.
  3. Mind. Every day I am searching out new things to learn. What am I reading, want to read, or need to learn? As important as it is to train my body and my heart, it is just as important to train my mind.

Tonight will be my first attempt to write in my journal from this perspective. I will start with a recap. Did I execute? Why or why not? Then I will finish with a plan for the next day.

What is my motive for such actions? It is simply to improve. It is always to improve. My personal development has become one of the greatest driving forces in my life. It is one of the principal lessons I want my son to learn. Become better today, than I was yesterday.

Spare Time

I have noticed at work that two subjects are dominating the conversations. Sports and video games. Nothing unusual, these are the usual topics discussed at work. Sports and video games. To be knowledgeable in either subject takes time. A lot of time. I asked one co-worker how many hours a week he devotes to gaming. His answer was 10. Another co-worker said 10 was probably a very conservative number and the truth was really higher.

I look back on my 20’s and early 30’s. What were the two areas that dominated my life? Sports and video games. I watched all the sports. I played all the video games. I devoted a good portion of waking hours to both of these endeavors. After years of playing and watching, what did I have to show for it? I could hold my own in these work place conversations. What else did I have to show for it? Absolutely nothing!

I have started reading an old book this week, one that last month I never even knew existed. It is Pushing to the Front by Orison Swett Marden. In Chapter 6: Possibilities in Spare Moments, Marden provides examples of some of history’s most notable figures and what they did outside of their normal occupations. I read it and was immediately put to shame when thinking back on my younger years. The possibilities in my spare moments were squandered compared to the examples in this chapter. The examples Marden provides are summed up in this statement:

Many of the greatest men of history earned their fame outside of their regular occupations in odd bits of time which most people squander.

Yep, that was me. But the good thing is that all is not lost. Later in the chapter, Marden provides a bit of hope with the following:

The present time is the raw material out of which we make whatever we will. Do not brood over the past, or dream of the future, but sieze the instant and get your lesson from the hour.

and

The worst of a lost hour is not so much in the wasted time as in the wasted power. Idleness rusts the nerves and makes the muscles creak. Work has system, laziness has none.

When I hear the conversations in the work place, I hear what is taking place in the spare moments of their lives. It is not for me to judge the doings of others, but I can choose differently. There are so many that complain of their situation. They want more opportunities. They want more money and a better standard of living. They want so much, but what they want for the future takes a backseat to the things they want in the present. The wasting of time to fit in with the popular culture is more important than the action required to change their future. As Henry David Thoreau said, “Things do not change, we change.” If we want something different in our lives, we have to change.

As with all my writings, there is not only a lesson for me to learn here, but one for my son. Life is short. It may not seem like it now. It may seem the days and hours drag out and your death will come in the form of boredom. It is in those times, when you seemingly have nothing to do, that you can separate yourself from the herd. It is in those times, that you can develop the physical and mental strength that will power you to a greater life in the future. You are in control. You get to make this choice in life between action and inaction.

The slack hand impoverishes, but the busy hand brings riches. A son who gathers in summer is a credit; a son who slumbers during harvest, a disgrace. –Proverbs 10:4-5

Desperate Times

Have you ever blamed your bad situation on fate? Something such as the stars not being aligned or your parents not giving you the correct genes? It is often easier to shift the blame to some happenstance rather than taking the onus on ourselves. For some of us, we are constantly looking over our shoulders waiting for the next bubble to burst. With it goes our social status, our finances, or even our health.  We become anxious about what may come tomorrow, and then we become resigned to the lot we are dealt, knowing it was our fate all along.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. –Henry David Thoreau

As Thoreau says, the majority of us live with this quiet desperation. We roll with the current and idly let it lead us to whatever destination is ahead. Why would we do this? Because it is the easier path, one that keeps us within our comfort zone. But this comfort zone is a fantasy that will prevent us from ever finding true happiness. So instead we are content to float down the lazy river quietly until we meet our final destination.

I have come to a point in my life where my quiet desperation has become very loud in my mind. Maybe it is a mid-life crisis of realization that I have fallen well off the path I was hoping to go. I looked at all the markers of where I wanted to be (body, soul, and spirit) and did not like what I saw. My desperation began to grow knowing that time on this earth is limited, and my end is on the horizon. No longer could I be resigned to mediocrity, and so I had to begin the process of changing. A process that I hope will never end.

When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard. –Sun Tzu, The Art of War

When I first read Sun Tzu, I never understood why you wouldn’t cut off all chances for the enemy to escape. I thought the goal was total victory. But for the surrounding army in the dominant position fighting a surrounded enemy is dangerous and very costly. Why? What happens to an enemy that has no chance to escape? They don’t usually become resigned to their fate and just  fall upon their swords. No, they become desperate, and “in a desperate position, you must fight.” They fight even harder for the families they may never see again and for the comrades that stand in the ranks next to them. Life all of a sudden becomes very precious, and they hold it most dear.

Being in a desperate situation is not ideal, but there are positives that can be had from the situation. Desperate people committed to winning don’t give up. They find a way out. Oftentimes it is an unconventional way, one that has you swimming against the current to survive. But when life is precious and you realize that time is running out, you find not only a way to survive but a way to be victorious.

Distance of Your Vision

It was at an early age that I discovered I had poor eyesight. I was very nearsighted and could not see clearly at a distance. As a child, I hated wearing eyeglasses. They were uncomfortable and didn’t look good. Because they fogged up so much, I didn’t even believe they were reliable. Yes, they gave me the ability to see distant objects, but they came at a cost. It was a cost I wasn’t willing to pay. The cost to me as a seven year-old wasn’t financial. It was comfort.

Over the course of the next seven years I suffered greatly, because I chose not to wear glasses. At the age of thirteen, it almost cost me my life. For over twenty years after that I wore contact lenses. Five years ago I had Lasik surgery to correct my 20/400 eyesight.

Without glasses, contacts, or Lasik, I was nearly blind. Not being able to see at distance, I was only able to see the things within close proximity. How does that affect decision making? You miss all the markers up ahead that are designed to direct you along the correct path. Long-term planning is impossible, because you have no idea what is on the road before you.

When I look back upon my youth, I often wonder  if my nearsightedness went beyond my ability to see. I could never answer the question of what I wanted to be when I grew up, even when I grew up. I had no ability to see at distance and instead only grasped at the things that were within reach. These short-term decisions turned out to be mere band-aids covering up the wrong turns I made. Because I couldn’t see the signs designed to point me in the right direction, I used way more band-aids than necessary. Similar to my youthful desire to not wear glasses, this caused much suffering. I only had one solution. Correct my vision!

How do you correct your vision? It is a good question, and one that I am still trying to figure out. Like eyesight, it doesn’t always stay the same, and therefore you need to constantly make the adjustments. Your eye doctor will ask you, “Is it better 1, or better 2?” It is a simple question and if 1 is clearer, you should choose it. Do you have someone in your life that can ask you a similar question? Are you consuming enough information that clarifies one path over another?

Choosing to correct your vision isn’t comfortable. You have to clearly identify what it is that you want and then figure out how to get there. It often means you have to ignore the things close to you preferring rather to stay the course toward a loftier and more fulfilling goal. It means putting on your glasses, even when it is not comfortable.

We can go through life blind, grasping only at the things right in front of us. It is a choice that many are content with but offers no lasting value. It is a way full of snares and pitfalls. But if we correct our vision, we have the ability to see what is ahead. We can make the adjustments and stay on the path to the life we desire.

Years Under Tension

Some of my peers are amazing physical specimens. I am in awe of their speed, and their strength, and the volume of work they can achieve every day. Compared to them, I feel like I am lightyears behind. And there is a good reason. It is not age. It is not genetics. It is time under tension.

Many look at time under tension from a set only perspective. During one exercise set, how long is that muscle working. Of course this is the general consensus. But for me and for this post, I am looking at time under tension from a different aspect. Despite genetics, those physical specimens have spent years under tension. And over the years, those muscles have developed in strength and speed. The difference between them and I is the time under tension over the course of the years.

It’s not where you are today that counts. It’s where you are headed. –Arthur Lenehan

Things happen, life happens. I didn’t stay consistent. I didn’t keep myself under tension. Over the last few years, I have really been making an effort to get back in shape. Only in the last six months have I really been consistent. I think in that time my progress has been remarkable. I also think it is foolish to even compare myself to others. There is only one person I should compare myself to: My past self.

Am I improving every day? Am I better today than I was last month or last year? There is only one real way I can ensure progress. Consistency. I have to do the work every day. I can’t allow myself to get off track. What if things come up? What if life gets in the way? I have to adjust. I have to be flexible. I have to keep doing the work, even when it is not convenient. If not, then I will not only always be lightyears behind my peers, but I will be lightyears behind the person I want to be.

Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men. –Miyamoto Mushashi

How do you compare? Not to others. That’s a fool’s game, and I should be ashamed to even contemplate it myself. No, how do you compare to the person you were yesterday? Are you striving to improve physically? Mentally? It is easy to become complacent, to think it doesn’t matter. But even a little daily effort to become a better person will go a long ways over the course of the years. You choose. You commit.

The greatest achievement is to outperform yourself. –Denis Waitley

The Listening Post

Imagine being outside your defensive perimeter listening for any signs of the enemy. While there is safety in numbers, you are alone, in the dark. Just you and the jungle. Not even the jungle in your backyard, this jungle belongs to the enemy. You have been out patrolling all day. You are tired, hungry, and all your nerves are frazzled. You are trying to listen for the enemy, but instead you hear everything else. You try to filter it out. Isolate what is real and what is imagined. Not only is your life at stake, but the lives of those depending on you inside the lines.

Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking. –Bernard Baruch

Listening. It is not easy. It may be one of the lessons that my son struggles with more than anything else. His performance in school is directly related to his ability to listen. When he is talking, he is not listening. If he is not listening, he is not learning. At the age of 5, even the slightest distractions affect his ability to properly listen.

Listening is a skill that takes time to master. Living in this age of distraction, even the good listeners will struggle. But if you want to be successful, you have to be able to listen. You need to listen to your audience. You need to listen to your customers. You need to listen to the guide posts that will keep you going in the right direction.

So what’s at stake? You may not be at the listening post in enemy territory, but there may still be people depending on you. They need you to achieve the success you are looking for. Take time today to truly listen. Filter out all the noise and isolate what is real.

Listen to counsel and receive instruction that you may eventually become wise. –Proverbs 19:20

Quit Talking, Begin Doing

I used to joke in the past with some of my associates. We would have deadlines to meet and in passing, I would notice the conversations were more focused on the previous night’s event rather than the current task at hand. I would tell them, “More work, less talk.” I wasn’t hard on them, but I wanted to steer their focus back to the work.

Those days were long ago. I no longer have associates that work for me, but this lesson of working more and talking less is even more important now than ever. And who needs the lesson the most? I do. Which is strange, because I really thought I was working as hard as or harder than anybody else. My work is primarily all on myself. I work out every day and eat mostly the right things so that I can improve my body. I read as much as I can and try to write daily. Heck, I even meditate two to three times a day so that I can be in that ideal state of mind. When I am actually at work or involved in other projects, I try to stay productive, even relentless. But for all that I am doing, there is one area where I have failed and failed miserably.

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I told my wife that I was going to support her in her business. I told her that we were in it together, and I would be there. What I told her and what I did were two different things. Over the last week, I have been thinking about what went wrong. Why was I so gung-ho to help in the beginning and then so lackadaisical later? Why was I not following through on what I said I was going to do? Here is what I came up with:

  • I became selfish. I was so focused on improving myself that I sacrificed the team. It is not all about me. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get better, but it will come with a cost. If I want to continue on this self-improvement journey, I need to manage my time better. I tell my son all the time that he cannot always do the things he wants to do, but instead he needs to do what he is supposed to do. I need to listen to my own words and apply them to myself. I need to be better balanced.
  • I was uncomfortable. I don’t know the business as well as I could. Because it is not in a field where I have experience, I am not as passionate about it as I should be. Couple the lack of knowledge with the lack of passion and it equals discomfort. Instead of taking the hard road of learning the business, I took the easy path of not being fully involved. What a mistake! The hard road is where growth occurs. Not only is the growth in the business, but within me. Take public speaking for example. Some people have a fear of it. They want nothing to do with it and so they avoid it. But if they confront their fear, slowly immerse themselves in it, they have a chance to overcome that which is holding them back. And there it is. I need to confront that which makes me uncomfortable. I need to grow.
  • Immediate gratification. I saw the money going out to support the business. I saw the time invested and even some of the frustration involved with a new business. I was not seeing the rewards. It is an easy thing to do when you are looking on the outside and not getting fully involved. I am spending a lot of time on my own personal businesses. None of which are expected to make any money in the near future. I am hoping my investment in them will eventually pay off. I get little or no gratification out of it, yet I still do it. Shouldn’t I have the same attitude with my wife’s business? Should I evaluate her business differently than my own ventures? No. So I let her down again in this area. And it comes down to attitude. I shouldn’t look at my investment from a “what can I get out of it now” perspective. I should be looking at it from a “what can I do to help you build it” viewpoint. I truly believe the business has the ability to be very profitable in the future. I need to keep my eyes to the future as I help lay the foundation now.

So of course, I have had my reasons for not helping. None of them good. However, all of them can be corrected, which puts me on that path to becoming a better person. I have some work to do. My wife can’t trust me to be there for her. I have to rebuild that trust. I can’t tell her that I am now willing to help. I have tried that line already and let her down. It is not in the words but in the action. This is how I can rebuild the trust. I have to do the work. I have to become faithful in what I do and just maybe I can come back into the fold. More work, less talk.

Lesson for my son:

In all labor there is profit, but mere talk tends only to loss. –Proverbs 14:23