I was involved in a demolition project at the house. I was replacing rotten window sills. I ran into a problem right away with removing the old ones. I cut them in half with a saw and started to rip them out. But I was afraid that I would harm the rest of the window or the wall and so I tapped on the old sill with the hammer and pulled lightly on it with a crowbar. I approached the job very daintily, and so the wood was not coming out of the wall. Then my wife got involved. She said that I was not doing it right and I felt she was butting in. She took the crowbar and started to attack the wood. She banged away at it, ripped, and pulled at it and within a minute the sill was out. I had to admit, that was the right way to do it. She really taught me a lesson. After that if something needs to be demolished, I call on Betsy.
I don’t know anyone who knows everything, do you? Since none of us do, I think everyone needs just a little bit of humility. People who possess humility know that there are experiences beyond their own and there are people who have acquired greater wisdom. I wish I had all of the answers, but I don’t. I know that the way to be successful at my job and in my life is to cooperate with others, to team up with other people who have different skills and gifts to bring to the table. It is a rare individual who can exist alone; it is a humble individual who knows this.
The Boy Scouts know this lesson and so they are always looking for ways to help the boys work together. They have an outdoor obstacle course, called a COPE course, which they use to build teamwork. One of the obstacles is a twelve-foot wooden wall that needs to be climbed. There are no footholds on or around the wall and so the group has to work together to get every person over the wall. It is amazing to watch these different sized people work together. At first the group needs to create a human tower for several to climb up and reach the top. Then those at the top reach down to those on the ground and lift them up and over. The last person has to jump up and grab the outstretched hand of someone at the top. It is a great example of people working together. I believe that no one can work alone. Teamwork and diversity of talent is important for success.
It works that way in my home. Betsy is really good at cooking, but me I could get frustrated boiling water. So Betsy does all of the cooking and I clean the dishes. At least I can’t burn them by overcooking. But recently we purchased a bread machine. You put the ingredients together and place them in the machine and it does the mixing, kneading and baking for you. It is very easy and I happen to like fresh bread, so I started doing the work. It comes out good every time. Hey I might have some talent after all in this cooking arena. Well, maybe I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. But Betsy has been very supportive of my brave new steps into the unknown. And that is the way it should be, we work as a team, we support each other and we are flexible. All of these things are important if we are going to be open to our own gifts as well as the gifts of others.
As I have already said, every one of us has gifts and skills that we can offer. I can do some things well, like sing. I think I am a pretty good singer, I enjoy performing in front of an audience, and I have performed a lot of music in a lot of different styles. From music written in the renaissance to classical through folk and to modern music, I love to perform it all. Like many people I crave the acknowledgement of my skills. I would like people to notice my gifts. All of us want to be recognized for what we do best. And so we should realize that others have this same need. Ask someone to give you a hand the next time you put up wallpaper. They may do a better job than you and they will feel good.
A teachable person is a person who helps several people at once. When I ask someone for help, I receive help and I give something back as well. I receive help because I’m not gifted at everything and therefore I need to find someone who is gifted at the job that needs to get done. The person I ask receives something in return. That person gets validated. By asking, I am telling him that he is good at something. Surely this helps us both.
It certainly helped me when I let Betsy destroy the window sills. She felt good about being able to help. And I felt good because I was better at putting the new ones in. So we both received something. And the reason is, we were both willing to lean on each other, to learn from each other and to allow each other to do what we do best. I just have to remember to stand back; my wife swings a pretty mean crowbar.