14 September 2007

Honourable work

Look what I found yesterday! An old photo of my boys - H, Shane and Kerry. H would have been in his early 40s here.

Although I love working in my home and recognise that everything I do here makes life better for H and I, there are some chores I don't like doing. But as I work my way through each day, as I make our bed each morning, wash the dishes and sweep floors, I know that what I am doing contributes in a meaningful way to our lives.

When our sons were much younger and I was hoping that my methods of firm boundaries, loving guidelines and setting a good example, would produce the men they eventually became, through all those years of mothering, even in the tough times, I knew unreservedly it was an honourable task.

I look around today at a world that is faster and noisier, where you are held in high esteem if you live with secret debt in a fancy house, where people rush to judgement, where children take knives and guns to school and where people, especially women, wonder if their vocation to work at home or in the business world is the right one.

We need to look at work with fresh eyes, we need to respect the work we do, and the work of others. You will always feel undervalued and have a sense of not being recognised for your work - both in paid work or at home - if you do not try to work to your full potential, set quality standards for yourself and honour what you do.

If you want your work to be respected, you must first respect what you do. You have to give meaning to your own work - whatever it is. Work is its own reward, it brings self discipline, honour and gratification in a job well done. Set your own standards of quality, don't look at the next door neighbours or those you work with and wish for what they have. It's irrelevant. Care for and respect what you have. Respect what you do and others will too.

There is a sense of accomplishment in starting a job, setting your standard of quality, working through to the best of your ability, bit by bit, taking in every part of that work. It will give you a sense of achievement and pride in what you do. Being the best mum, writing an accurate and intelligent report, serving your customers well, baking a wonderful loaf of bread, tending your garden, collecting eggs, mentoring your work colleagues and being the best you can be will make your work honourable and make you better for it.

Focusing on how you work - be that at home or in the workplace - gives your day purpose, it helps you live deliberately and it will help you create a fuller life for yourself. If you can wake in the morning with a feeling of wanting to do your best, work through your day with a generous and happy heart and look back on what you've achieved with pride, then you've lived that day well, and to its full potential. And if that seems to be too much of a task for you to achieve, just start one step at a time. Concentrate on what you're doing, do small tasks well and take pride in them. Slowly you will start seeing all work as honourable and when you understand that, when you know that what you do contributes to the quality of your life, it will make it easier for you to totally embrace your work.


  1. What you say is so true. If we don't value our work we can't expect others to value it either. It is so important to try to do whatever job we do simple or complex to the best of our ability. The lowliest job done well gives greater satisfaction than the most magnificent done poorly for all to see.

  2. Good one Rhonda. Agree totally.
    And on that happy day when all of us (mums, dads, grans, grandpas, students, teachers, butchers and bakers and candlestickmakers alike) are paid a social wage that recognises and also values our contribution to the community that we sustain and that in turn sustains us, then life will be really good.
    How good would it be if we were paid the same to look after our own kids and homes as we were to look after someone else's?
    A few corporate bosses and pokies owners might have to sacrifice some of their millions to make it happen, but bring it on I say !

  3. Two old sayings come to mind:
    "good work has it own rewards" and "a little praise goes a long way." If you praise others for their good work hopefully it will also come back at you. Last night at my work I had a customer sincerely thank me for all my efforts even though I was serving her as well as another customer she still felt I was really helpful. It made waht had been a very busy day that bit nicer :)

  4. Well said Rhonda and with that thought in mind I am off to "attack" the ironing pile and do the best darned ironing job I can :) Linda

  5. Wow,Another GREAT Post!!!!!

  6. As always, your thoughts are thought provoking and encouraging at the same time. Thanks again. I do agree with you, staying home is a job that will take everything out of you and reward you at the same time. But you do not get recognition right away, it is much later than you get your "you did a great job".
    Blessings, Maria S.

  7. I agree with you completely, Rhonda. I'm a big fan of the old saying - anything worth doing, is worth doing well. I often wonder if today's problem of poor job satisfaction has anything to do with the fact that so many jobs are internet/office based and are unable to be measured in terms of a job being finished. It would be more difficult to get that sense of completion that you would get if you were working with your hands.



    P.S. Further to my vow of yesterday to buy products with less packaging, I have been wanting to make some of those netting bags you showed us last month but would have had to have driven about 50km to buy some netting. I just got up from the computer and spied an unused mosquito net that I had completely forgotten about down the side of the computer cupboard. Yay!!! No more plastic fruit & veg bags for me!!

  8. Thanks for a wonderful post!I just found your site and I like it! Will have to look at your archives. I listed you as a great blog find on my blog.


  9. Rhonda, I have looked all around my office and I can't find your hiding place. First a post about procrastinating and now one on pride in working well: you must be watching me! Just what I needed whilst fiddling about thinking about how I'd rather be in the garden. I'm off to get on with it.
    Many, many thanks for being an inspiration

  10. Beautifully said. There's nothing I can add to that.

    P.S. The photo of your family is lovely.

  11. Thanks Rhonda!

    Once again you have left me feeling proud of what I do for my family and home. We readers are lucky to have you. Television is definitely not going to value this way of living and it's great to have you at a click of a mouse.
    I'm no spring chicken and neither is my husband -with that I sometimes worry about the future for my little one. I must remember... One day at a time it can be done.

    Thanks Rhonda!

  12. Rhonda,...very good post!...

  13. Well said Rhonda. Lovely photo too.

  14. Thank for the good read this evening Rhonda

    My Mum used to say - whatever you do in life do it to the best of your ability

    Take care


  15. Thank you for this post Rhonda. I have to admit I find it so hard to get out of the mindset of not valuing housework. I remember reading someone's contribution in a forum once - "What I'm doing is important. It is showing that I value my family by looking after their comfort."

    That sentence really struck me at the time. More and more it seems we are saying that work outside of the home (especially paid work) is more valuable.

    I have to admit, its still something I struggle with. My head knows that how I feel about housework is nonsense but it is hard to get out of years of conditioning.


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