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Life Is Work

Life Is Work

Hello and good day!

My children are growing up as the sons of chocolate business owners.

When they go to our production facility, they end up getting all the treats they want. We try to put a limit on it, but we are sabotaged by our team.

The biggest culprit of all is our chocolatier Javier. He loves kids and he just can't resist the charm of a little boy smiling up at him and saying "pleeeaaasssseeee Javier", with those innocent puppy dog eyes. They aren't so innocent you know. These kids know what they're doing.

It is pre-meditated.

In general, I'm ok with this subterfuge. I have no choice in the matter, so it is better to make amends with reality.However, I do worry that my kids will think treats happen automatically.

I don't want them to grow up thinking the world owes them something sweet and delicious every time they go out. That is a dangerous belief in my eyes and as a result, I probably overcompensate in the other direction by making my kids buckle down and work a little bit too hard for their age.

I don't regret it though. It is better than being brought up soft.

Because a good life requires hard work towards a goal you care about. You can care about a goal, but if you aren't willing or able to work hard toward it, you will always be left unsatisfied.

You will always end up asking yourself "what if"?

What if I would have given it a bit more? I can speak to this in real time because the last few years, I have really been pouring it on.

I've always been a hard worker. I was raised that way by my parents and that is probably how I came to hold this fanatical belief in the value of hard work in the first place.

But the last 2-3 years in particular have been demanding.And you know what? I've never felt better or stronger or more spiritually satisfied.

Maybe the folks around me don't feel the same way, but I suspect they do.

Even though sometimes you feel like you are sacrificing the other fun stuff you could be doing, at the end of a long day when you made a great effort, you know you have really lived.

You know this because you have made the world around you a better place. That is the secret to the satisfaction one gets from good, hard, work.You have earned your keep and served the folks around you.You are contributing to making the world work up to its potential.

Human beings are social animals, hard wired to cooperate.

Working and contributing towards the greater good hits on the wiring in our brains and lets us know we are good people.The other thing I want my kids to realize is that they were born into their current lives.

Where they were born and who their parents are have nothing to do with them.

They didn't earn that. They didn't choose it. It just happened.

If they were born on a cacao farm in northern Peru, we wouldn't have to put pressure on them to work hard.They would have to do it to survive.

The kids there walk miles every day back and forth to school in blazing heat and under heavy jungle rains.The calories they need aren't sitting in a store ready to be easily plopped into carts with wheels. You don't get to hold a piece of plastic against a censor while muzak plays in the background to pay for your food.

You pay for it with the sweat of your brow.

Want to eat meat? You better kill and clean an animal.

Want bread? You better start grinding some grains.

Want a banana? Grab a long stick with a blade and go cut them down out of the tree.

Want some chocolate? You might be able to get some on Sunday, which is market day. On market day, farmers come out from the countryside to gather in a small little 6 block long downtown to sell animals and buy goods to take back to their farms.

Vendors come in and set up tables. They sell clothes and jewelry and pots and pans and sometimes chocolate. If the chocolate vendor doesn't come, you might have to take public transportation two hours to the closest big city to get some good chocolate.  

Most farm families don't own cars. Public transportation is usually a refitted old van with all the seats pulled out and benches installed around the inside perimeter of the vehicle. People sit on the benches and people sit on the floors.

You stand on the side of the road until a van comes along and if there is room, you can get in. If there is no room, you wait for the next one.

We have it good here in the United States. But it is only good because a whole lot of people worked very hard for a very long time to build it all up.

The people who inherit it can easily forget that hard work keeps the machine running. It all seems automatic. It seems like manna from heaven.

But it isn't.

Things can absolutely grind to a halt if youngsters aren't taught that hard work makes it all possible. Along with the sweet treats, they get in the kitchen comes pressure from their old man.

Pressure to give their best effort. Pressure to focus. Pressure to work until the job is done. Pressure to avoid frivolity and do what really matters.

Pressure to serve others, to do work that contributes to the good of all not just our own good.

I'd hope that if my kids go out to work in campo someday, which they very likely will, they will have a good enough work ethic to jump right in and keep up with the kids of cacao farmers.

For our part, because of the way my brother Brian and I were raised, we astonished cacao farm families with our ability to work.

They figured that gringos were soft. They learned that not all are.

Anyhow, I am running out of steam a bit on this topic now. But the one last thing I'd like to say on the matter is this.

I am happy sweeping up the floor in our shop. And wiping down the counters. And taking out the trash and breaking down cardboard boxes.

I love that our shop is nice and clean when people walk in. They know that somebody there gives a dang.

The sample jars are full and overflowing with good sized morsels. None of this is fancy or complex work. But it contributes to the experience our customers have when they interact with us. And that interaction contributes to the overall good of society.

That is why hard work feels good.

I hope at you have a truly blessed day!


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