If it’s worth doing…

It’s amazing the things that can turn into object lessons.  Take, for example, a house remodeling project.

A few months ago, we decided to put some tile in our two bedrooms in the basement.  “No problem,” I thought.  Considering the other projects I’ve embarked upon in our house, I should have known better.  See, sometime in our house’s past, some remodeling was done by the previous owners and, well, let’s just say the result sucked.

Anyway, I went to work pulling up the old, smelly carpet along with the padding and tack boards (or whatever they’re called).  So far so good.  Except that in one room, a closet had been built and framed ON TOP of the carpet.  Slightly peeved that I could not get ALL the carpet out, I took pliers in hand and worked to pull as much carpet as I could out from underneath the closet wall.  Then I noticed that the baseboards (which had to come out too) were ALSO framed in by the closet.  After giving it some thought, I decided to just tear down the whole closet, take out the carpet and base boards and then put the closet back up.  Once I got the drywall off, I also noticed that the wood used to make the closet was dirty, rotten, and generally looked like it was pulled off a scrap heap somewhere.  So much for a simple tiling project.

All this time, Carlos had been watching the progress in the room, making comments, asking questions and helping out whenever he could.  He asked “Papi, why do you have to take the closet out?” or “Is that supposed to look like that?”  I seized this opportunity to try and teach him that when you set out to do something, you should try to do right the first time.  If not, either you or someone else will have to fix the mistake.  I pointed out the rotten wood and showed him the kind of wood that should have been used.  “Do you think if we do something lazily that we are doing it with all our strength like the Bible encourages us to do?” I asked.  Carlos looked at me as if I were nuts and said an emphatic “No!”

Sometimes I need to be reminded of such a lesson.  Last night, after building the closet frame and putting it in place, I noticed that I had repeated an error from the previous closet – not aligning it with the stud in the wall.  I considered trying to rig it so that I wouldn’t have to take the whole frame down but my own words came back to haunt encourage me, “Do you think if we do something lazily that we are doing it with all our strength like the Bible encourages us to do?”  I was basically being lazy in not wanting to rebuild part of the frame, even when I had enough wood already.  But I knew that fixing the problem and not just covering it up was the correct, albeit harder thing to do.  And by doing this, I’ll hopefully provide an example to my kids of practicing what I preach.


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