3 life lessons to add to your tool box

Over the holidays, I had the amazing experience to have my parents visit for 10 entire days! Since leaving the Middle Tennessee area nearly 25 years ago, my parents rarely come to us. We go to them. In fact, we go to them on holidays and during the summer because, well… they live on the beach. The main reason they do make the seven-plus hour trip to see us is not for their first-born son, but rather because we have cute daughters. I guess that’s why they only come up when there is a play Madison (my oldest daughter) is in…

But this Christmas was different! My parents came up with a car full of tools and doors. That may sound a bit unusual. But my father, being an architect, drew up a plan for an open-design closet as an addition to our master bedroom. (This explains the contents of the vehicle anyway).

Spending time with my dad building something from scratch turned out to be an amazing experience. It also tests my patience. Building something can be a trying experience when not skilled. But it brought back memories from when I was a kid and we remodeled a basement together. While we learned lots of things through the process, there are several things I thought about throughout the building process.

Here’s a brief summary.

  1. Have the right toolstools
    This is important. Without the right tools, any project is immediately in jeopardy of not being completed or done right. In our case, we decided to purchase a router to set the hinges into the door and jambs. Although my dad was able to perfectly chisel a space for the hinge, this took more time and effort than it was worth.Just like we found out having the right tools was important to the success of our project – the same is true for anything we wish to accomplish with our lives. Life mirrors our building project (or vice versa). If you have a project, use the right tools.Never stop adding to your “tool box.” In order to keep building yourself, you must keep developing yourself. Learn all you can, because you never know when that information will prove fruitful.
  2. Disarray is temporarybuilding-mess
    While we were building the closet, my world was complete chaos. My bedroom was cleared out and turned upside down with tools, nails, and screws of all sizes scattered in random piles out of its packaging, sawdust and sanding dust was everywhere. My garage was also head-to-toe full of supplies, saws, tools, and more dust. I’m wise enough to know there is a means to an end… but I can’t help but be a little OCD when it comes to keeping a clean work environment. I must have taken a layer off the bedroom’s linoleum floor from sweeping so much.What I learned and saw in both principle and action is how the discomposure of the work areas were all but temporary. I knew it would all be cleaned up, but was anxious to get to the part where we would be cleaning up – meaning we would also have a complete project.Our lives get messy just like a construction work zone. But that’s what they make cleaning supplies for. When we are in the midst of a mess, we feel trapped or out-of-sorts. We feel disillusioned, as our norm becomes abnormal. Once the project was complete, the abnormal transformed into the new norm – and it was better than before! It was done. The disarray of the day had become composed of a construction mess that over time brought a greater order to the space.Sometimes, you have to put up with discomfort to get to a comfortable state. There is always a means to an end.
  3. Time spent with loved ones is well spentmake-the-time
    My favorite part of the week was the time spent with my dad. Living in a different state, it’s easy to get used to living your own life. You sometimes forget the most important things in life are the people who invested in you to make you the person you are today. Any time spent with those you love is an investment that pays dividends. For me, this was a great way to both invest and be invested in.This is the greatest of the three points. Don’t take for granted those you love or those you respect. Make time to spend with them for your benefit and theirs.

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com


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