We have heard or said this so many times, that we may not realize that what we are really telling our children is that these professions do not have the same value. (And as an aside is their really a job for a ditch digger, let me check with my mom and get back to you.) And quite frankly that is not true. Jobs that require physical movement are equally as important as jobs that require mental movement. A garbage man or a ditch digger is no less important than a doctor or a lawyer; albeit more in some instances.
I frequent the AM-PM on Clover and Tracy Blvd, and the place is meticulous. The first time, some years ago, I noticed him while waiting in line to pump gas at this very busy station. He wipes down each gas pump with a damp cloth, he empties the garbage cans that sit in between the gas pumps, he makes sure there is plenty of glass cleaner in the bins, he sweeps and mops the concrete floors; he cleans the garbage bin area, stacks the crates and sweeps behind the store and I have even seen him clean the pay phone. I asked him if he owned the station. In a quiet and very polite manner, not stopping what he was cleaning, he said no. I told him that he is doing a great job. He smiled. He quietly goes about his profession of master cleaner. Whenever I see him, I make it a point to speak and tell him he is doing a great job. He smiles. When my children are in the van with me, I show them this man as an example of someone who does a good job and I tell them that even if you are a master cleaner at a gas station, be the best master cleaner you can be. A new mom-ism created by me.
The jobs that we consider menial have an equal amount of dedication and commitment. Often times, service jobs go unnoticed because when excellence is put in action, we often times don’t notice because the results make all of our lives a little easier. We need to instill in our children pride in whatever job or career path they choose to follow, instead of labeling one profession better or worse than another. Labeling can dampen the enthusiasm of our children to pursue or become anything out of the norm.
As parent, our job, is to create a safe place for our children to value their inner spark; so that their inside voice believes that they are valuable. As their first teachers, we should seek to encourage and motivate. If our actions and our speech tell our children we believe in them, they will try. However, if they believe in themselves, they will soar.
• Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mother. Her column appears every so often in the Tracy Press. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.