A Tribute to my Dad on his Birthday
My dad, Alfred, is one of nine children, born into a hard-working family in Maine. The St. Pierre children worked on the family farm and studied by day in a one room school house. Speaking more French than English, the children learned that life is difficult but manageable. To get ahead, you have to trust in God and work hard.
So that's what my dad did as he headed off to join the Army. Later, he met Camille, a bright woman who grew up outside of Boston from an Italian family. "At least she speaks French," my dad's family would later say of the woman who would become mother to me and my two older brothers. Their marriage has endured to this day and they enjoy good health and the blessings of a life of deep faith.
My dad has taught me so much over the years. It wasn't so much that he worked hard (although clearly he did) but that he got into deep rhythms of work such that great results followed. When he would come home from work, I would meet him in the garage and then follow him around the house as he transitioned from work-mode to home. Rarely did he bring the stress of work home with him.
My dad practices a unique blend of being stubborn with being able to adapt. When PC's became widely used, he embraced them even though it took some time to adjust. Recently, he's pursued a passion for photography that allows him and my mom to capture the memories of their travels on DVD. He's learned technology after technology, often producing DVD's for others in need. He's figured out how to give a gift to someone else that is a product of his labor and not just something you can purchase at a store.
As I've studied time management and grown The Daily Saint blog over the years, I realize that my own father could probably write a book of his own. Before Zen Habits, 37Signals, and LifeHacker came along, my dad was doing one thing at a time, putting first things first and doing right by his family.
As a Christian leader, I'm trying to adopt my dad's other unique ability- to be able to stop on a dime and change personal habits. I can remember the year that he started walking each day at lunchtime. It was as if a switch had been activated and then he never looked back. Or the year that he began attending daily Mass. To this day, he and my mom worship God each morning at the altar of their local parish.
The point is this- inspiration can strike at any time and one better not betray a prompting of God. Go with the inspiration and trust that the habit will then build momentum and positive results. That's truly a living definition of the spirituality of work.
So Dad, here's to you on your birthday. Know that I'm saying an extra prayer of thanks for you on your special day.
*Photo by marika.laurel