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My parents have never been strangers to hard work, or hardship for that matter.

For years my dad told my sister and I that working as we grew up was non-negotiable.

It’s a running joke in our family that the two english phrases my father learned in first when he came to the states were “No” and “Get a job”.

When I was about 16 my dad came in one Saturday morning (I was probably watching WWF or something),

He very candidly and without much emotion came in and announced:

“I got you a job, its the worst one I could find, you start next week”

I was hoping that he was talking to my sister but she was only 10 years old at the time so with my keen deductive reasoning skills I figured out I was now entering the workforce.

For the record that job could have been worse but it may have qualified for the show “Dirty Jobs”.

I worked a plant nursery and did all the work and manual labor nobody else wanted or was capable of doing.

I was regularly told to “Get the water moccasins out of the lilli pond”.

For a solid visual imagine me standing in a small pond fighting with angry reptiles with a gardening rake while people casual shop for orchid’s around me……

That job was amazing in many ways.

I learned to drive a tractor that only worked in first gear, could drive a fork truck in gravel that had a flat tire, and could break the granite slabs in whatever shapes the old ladies wanted hahah.

(they regularly tipped me in quarters)

Nothing about that job was fun, and I hated my supervisor.  His name was Butch and he was a massive a$$hole.

If you’ve read any of my blogs you know my dad was never afraid to place us directly in the path of suffering.

I’m glad he did.  I’ve learned a lot from those struggles

I learned what actual work was, and I learned that I’ll never be unmeployed because I’ll never be above that work if I have to do it.

I was talking to someone yesterday and they were telling me how they avoided placing their kids in tough scenarios.

I get it and will probably fight that urge during my entire tenure as a parent.

Suffering is an acquired taste and dealing with it is a perishable skill.

I’m not suggesting that we should all put ourselves in the frying pan and endure pain for fun but there is absolutely merit to it.

I regularly try to place myself in scenarios where my skill set lacks or try to tackle tasks that don’t fall in the category of my unique ability.

It helps me to get past failure and move towards improvement.

Don’t avoid tough situations, but be intentional about it.

Go to the fast food restaurant and don’t choose the poor options.

Take a class that you aren’t interested in.

Learn a very technical skill that requires absolute attention.

Put your kids in scenarios that are tough and they will fail.

The world is a tough place.  Developing mental and physical toughness isn’t natural.

It’s developed from experiences and practice.

It’s also a use or lose skill.

Don’t lose it.