Posts Tagged ‘respect’

“Life’s Little Instruction Book.” – H. Jackson Brown

Wednesday, November 10, 2010. Today I am grateful for people who do the jobs many of us do not want to do.  A reminder of this comes from H. Jackson Brown’s book entitled Life’s Little Instruction Book, Volume II: A few more suggestions, observations, and reminders on how to live a happy and rewarding life:

“727. Show extra respect for people whose jobs put dirt under their fingernails.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Here’s a great article by Steve Waters on that subject, from:

Praise for Work That Gets Dirt Under Your Fingernails
by Steve Watters on 05/27/2009 at 8:37 AM

As more “information worker” jobs get the axe in a recessionary economy, jobs that tend to put dirt under your fingernails are getting a second look from young workers. Last week, the New York Times Magazine ran a lengthy article on this topic by Matthew Crawford called “The Case for Working With Your Hands.” I read quite a bit over the course of a week and I haven’t read anything this engaging or provocative in a long time. Here are some appetizers:

Many of us do work that feels more surreal than real. Working in an office, you often find it difficult to see any tangible result from your efforts. What exactly have you accomplished at the end of any given day?

…The imperative of the last 20 years to round up every warm body and send it to college, then to the cubicle, was tied to a vision of the future in which we somehow take leave of material reality and glide about in a pure information economy. This has not come to pass. To begin with, such work often feels more enervating than gliding. More fundamentally, now as ever, somebody has to actually do things: fix our cars, unclog our toilets, build our houses.

…One shop teacher suggested to me that “in schools, we create artificial learning environments for our children that they know to be contrived and undeserving of their full attention and engagement. Without the opportunity to learn through the hands, the world remains abstract and distant, and the passions for learning will not be engaged.”

…The trades suffer from low prestige, and I believe this is based on a simple mistake. Because the work is dirty, many people assume it is also stupid. This is not my experience.

…So managers learn the art of provisional thinking and feeling, expressed in corporate doublespeak, and cultivate a lack of commitment to their own actions. Nothing is set in concrete the way it is when you are, for example, pouring concrete.

…Why not encourage gifted students to learn a trade, if only in the summers, so that their fingers will be crushed once or twice before they go on to run the country?

…For anyone who feels ill suited by disposition to spend his days sitting in an office, the question of what a good job looks like is now wide open.

I suspect this article will hit home with anyone who has looked for purpose among cubicle walls and failed to find anything quite as rewarding as their hands-on projects of days gone by.


Thank you Steve Waters!

Here’s to those who help to make the real world work better for the rest of us, eh?

Doc Meek, Wednesday, November 10, 2010, at Strathcona Public Library, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

P.S. Tomorrow (in Canada) we celebrate Remembrance Day (November 11), in honor of those who do the ultimate “dirty jobs” and sometimes pay with their very lives: the armed services personnel.

J. Collins Meek, Ph.D. (Doc Meek)
“What if you are smarter than you think?”
Learning Specialist

For brain health, ensure heart health (short video):
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CANADA: P.O. Box 3105, Sherwood Park, AB T8H 2T1
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“Healing from Love.” – Rod Campbell

Wednesday, November 3, 2010. Today I am grateful for Rod Campbell, of Warkworth, New Zealand, an old horseman from whom we all can learn much. Even little birds love Rod Campbell!

Image from:… 

In his book entitled Healing from Love: Healing through Love, Kindness and Respect for all Living Things, we see a man clearly who “talks his walk” and “walks his talk.”

Rod says, “I wish to help others to see the benefit of living with love and respect for all living things and to see that this is not just a matter of words–it is a way of life.”

And so it is for Rod. We can learn much from this humble man.

Rod goes on to say, “Although this book provides guidance and help for people who want to help others it must also be realized people can help others even if they themselves are very sick, not educated or cannot read or see very well.” [Emphasis added.]

Again, Rod walks his talk. He has several times been very sick, he did not receive much formal education and now cannot see very well. Still he has continued to help others through it all.

And he is aware that not all help comes from talk:

Love, kindness and respect can be given freely without speaking one word. This is greatly appreciated and can change the lives of all living things.”

Here’s to a man that lives his values and beliefs completely! Just to be in his presence is to know kindness.

Doc Meek, Wednesday, November 3, 2010, at Nose Hill Public Library, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA

J. Collins Meek, Ph.D. (Doc Meek)
“What if you are smarter than you think?”
Learning Specialist

For brain health, ensure heart health (short video):
More on heart health
Ph (801) 971-1812 (Jeannette); Fax [801] 282-6026

CANADA: P.O. Box 3105, Sherwood Park, AB T8H 2T1
TONGA: Mele Taumoepeau, P.O. Box 60, Nuku’alofa
USA: 3688 W 9800 S, #138, South Jordan, UT 84095


“Honor is better than honors.” – Abraham Lincoln

To enlarge photograph of electrical substation, click on it: A 115 kV to 41.6/12.47 kV 5 MVA 60 Hz substation with circuit switcher, regulators, reclosers and control building at Warren, Minnesota in the US. From Wikipedia:

To enlarge photograph of electrical substation, click on it: A distribution substation in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada disguised as a house, complete with a driveway, front walk and a mowed lawn and shrubs in the front yard. A warning notice can be clearly seen on the “front door.” Photographs from Wikipedia: …………………………………………………………………………………………….

They called him “Mr. Integrity”

My Dad, James Collins Meek II, worked for West Kootenay Power & Light Company (WKP&L) in British Columbia (BC), CANADA, for 42 years. Ultimately he became the supervisor for WKP&L in the Kelowna District. The company men in Kelowna dubbed him “Mr. Integrity.” They had many reasons for doing this.

One of the reasons they called him “Mr. Integrity” was that he always made sure that he spent company money as if it were his own money. And he was very responsible with his own money. One of the results was that the “integrity disease” became contagious and the men who worked for him caught the “disease” as well. This made for an honest and frugal operation, which the company greatly appreciated of course.

Dad also made sure that he gave value for his own personal labor dollar. It was important to him not to “waste time” on the job. Over time, his men followed suit. It became part of the culture of the company group.

What’s this got to do with learning?

Even respect and integrity can be learned.

The Retirement Celebration Joke

Karl Wolfe worked for my Dad in the Kelowna office of WKP&L, right up until the time my Dad retired. Karl had built a miniature electrical substation switchboard to be used to play a retirement celebration joke on my Dad.

The plan was to have Dad try to figure out how to make the correct critical sequence of electrical switching moves for several hypothetical high-voltage lines. This switching job was supposed to get the electrical power back on to an area whose high-line power source was down and out.

Then, because it was a very complex sequence of switching moves, the  joke idea was to have him surely fail, sounding a big alarm buzzer. Whereupon one of “the boys” was going to pull the main switch for power to the hall we were in for the retirement party, plunge everything into darkness, and blame my Dad for the ensuing chaos.

“You’ve made a big mistake in the power switching!” they were going to yell. “You’ve made the power fail–all the way back to the hydroelectric dam power source!”

“Region-wide failure!”

All in “good fun” of course.

So the trap was set

Here’s where the integrity comes in. In multiple forms. Watch.

My Dad got up to face the challenge of this miniature switching panel. He could see this was a complex matter. He felt it would be a personal embarrassment if he failed in both his electrical knowledge and in his duty to protect the power delivery, even in this purely hypothetical case.

He knew nothing about the planned joke of course. He figured his men were simply giving him his “final test” in the power industry, prior to his retirement.

[Aside to the reader: power industry people see themselves as having an almost sacred duty to keep the power flowing, no matter what.]

My Dad looked at the complex switching task facing him, and knowing Karl Wolfe was a man of integrity, silently reasoned, “Karl built this switchboard, so I know he would not design it so as to guarantee failure and embarrassment. There is a way through, complex though it may be.”

To enlarge photograph of electrical substation, click on it: A 50 Hz electrical substation in Melbourne, Australia. This is showing 3 of the 5 220 kV/66 kV transformers each with a capacity of 185 MVA. From Wikipedia: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Failure is not an option

My Dad just could not bring himself to fail in the power industry, even in this hypothetical case.

So he put his knowledge and experience to the test, worked methodically through the complex switching sequences, and wow! He got through it successfully without creating any massive power failures. Or little ones either. Bingo! The switchboard gave the “power restored” signal and Dad sat down satisfied.

All the men sat around dumbstruck.

The guy had succeeded, against all odds! They couldn’t play out the joke because he hadn’t failed!

[Personally, I would have just sounded the buzzer anyway, pulled the switch on the hall power, plunged the place into darkness, and played out the big “power failure” joke on my Dad anyway! :o]

The men had too much integrity for that. They had too much respect for my Dad.

The joke was based on Dad’s failing and he did not fail.

They honored his success.

To integrity!

Doc Meek, Sunday, June 6, 2010

At Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

P.S. Contrasting News Item:

The money and valuables found in [this one drug lord’s house] would be enough to pay for health insurance for every man, woman and child in the USA for 12 years! There are believed to be approximately 27 more [drug lord houses in this particular country] not to mention the ones in other countries who are enriching themselves in the drug trade. These people have so much money, they make the Arab oil sheiks look like welfare recipients. Their money can buy the best politicians, the best cops, the best judges, whatever they need they just throw down stacks of cash and it is theirs! This is why the drug problem is so difficult to fight.

Click photo to enlarge Click photo to enlarge
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