Working Man’s Ph.D.

cropped-tools.jpgIn 1993 one of the biggest hits was a song called “Working Man’s Ph.D.” sung by Aaron Tippin.  Aaron Tippin has the most colorful biography of all the country-western singers I know, including a commercial airline pilot, pipefitter, truck driver, welder, farmhand, and songwriter and singer.  The lyrics for the song “Working Man’s Ph.D.” form the backbone to the point of this article and as a means of honoring those who have well-earned their working man’s Ph.D.

You get up every morning ‘fore the sun comes up
Toss a lunchbox into a pickup truck
A long, hard day, sure ain’t much fun
But you’ve gotta get it started if you wanna get it done
You set your mind and roll up your sleeves
You’re workin’ on a working man’s Ph.D

Consider the following line especially, “you’ve gotta get it started if you wanna get it done; You set your mind and roll up your sleeves.”  How many times has grit been the only determining factor between starting and finishing a project?  Starters are many, but enders are few.  Those are the two elements for success, and every working man knows the recipe.  Get your mindset and start by rolling up your sleeves.  Preparation is key to finishing strong.20th Maine

Now, cast your mind to those who have never learned how to be a working man.  They have no grit, no ability to make up their minds, and cannot stand up to adversity and spit in adversity’s eyes.  Yet, they talk a good line.  They want you to think they know.  But the lines on their brow and the lack of callouses on their hands tell another story entirely.

Take a moment and consider your first blister.  Do you remember how you earned it?  Do you remember what you were doing the first time you felt that sting?  I do.  My first blister turned into my first and most lasting callous.  I was hoeing a row of peas in a garden; I was six.  I was told that a blister from working is the mark of a man learning how to work.  I earned that blister on a hoe handled that had been wrapped in duct tape to prevent splinters.  After that row of peas, there was a row of corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and lawns to mow.  By the end of the day, I was exhausted and sore, the blister was bloody, and I learned how to treat blisters so you could go to work the next day.Rocks

Let me tell you a secret; I love that blister and callous!  I have burned that callous on many a stove and pan.  I have cut that callous on several knives and received no injury.  I have softened that callous while wrestling sheep in a shearing pen.  I have milked cows and goats to the cows and goats’ misfortune with that callous.  That callous has taught me many a lesson, including how to get a blister under a callous.  In the middle of a cold winter, while splitting wood, that callous kept my hands sticking to the steel of the handle on the splitting maul.  That maul handle had been replaced so many times that my father had taken the splitting maul to work and replaced the wood with ½” steel tubing.  It heaviest splitting maul I ever used, but I never broke that handle off!

With your heart in your hands and the sweat on your brow
You build the things that really make the world go around
If it works, if it runs, if it lasts, for years
You bet your bottom dollar; it was made right here
With pride, honor, and dignity
From a man with a working man’s Ph.D

Consider something with me, think about your hardest task completed; what did you learn about “pride, honor, and dignity” about accomplishing that task?  Hard work taught you a lesson that ease and prosperity could never teach.  Lessons that you cannot pass along to another person except by teaching them the joys and pleasures of task accomplishment and hard work.  Yet, in the world today, so many want to look down on hard work, and this is a thought process that needs reversing.Good Timber

I screwed up.  I admit this freely.  I took some money for raking my neighbor’s lawn and did a poor job.  My neighbor fired me; she was right to do so.  I felt so disgusted with myself for taking money and not delivering a good job, I went over and finished that job over my neighbors’ objections.  I shoveled her snow for free that year.  I did everything I could to discharge the debt I owed to this woman for teaching me that there is no honor, dignity, and pride in a job not done well.

cropped-snow-leopard.jpgMy wife the other day asked me why I don’t quit jobs I have undertaken.  She doesn’t understand the lessons I have learned; I cannot do a poor job.  I cannot commit to doing a job and give less than my full potential and all of my talents, skills, and abilities.  Even when it means I am surrounded by enemies in a hostile environment where my life is constantly threatened.  I have to give it everything I have; I owe this debt to my neighbor that must be serviced.  I have earned a working man’s Ph.D. as well as a couple of master’s degrees from the school of hard knocks; I owe too much to those who have taught me to forget these lessons.

Now there ain’t no shame in a job well done
From driving a nail to driving a truck
As a matter of fact, I’d like to set things straight
A few more people should be pullin’ their weight
If you wanna cram course in reality
You get yourself a working man’s Ph.D

There is a truth in these simple words, I wish to convey in the soberest words possible, “there ain’t no shame in a job well done.”  There is no end of shame to a job poorly done.  Consider the current president; why does the common person, those of us carrying working man Ph.D.’s, scorn the president?  Why did the common person, those carrying working man Ph.D.’s, heap praise on President Trump?  The simple truth and reality in the sentiment, “there ain’t no shame in a job well done,” but there is no end of shame in a job poorly done.  Use any other person you care to name, John Wayne and Kim Kardashian, who gets the stain and who gets the praise of a job well and poorly done?  President Reagan and Nancy Pelosi?  Michael Jackson and Mother Teresa?Leadership Cartoon

The job doesn’t matter, driving nails, driving trucks, nursing babies, keeping a house, accountant, pipefitting, welder, buyer, etc., what matters is how well the job is completed.  Do you take the job and do it well or poorly?  For if you do it poorly, there is nothing but eternal shame, the work itself will always testify of your performance, and people will speak of your incompetence.  Do it well, to the best of your abilities; even if a scoreboard might proclaim you are a loser, you have won victory and honor, pride, and dignity that can never be taken from you.  How you perform the task is the deciding factor, not the job, not the task, not the scores and the statistics, your performance of the task’s duties.

When the quittin’ whistle blows and the dust settles down
There ain’t no trophies or cheering crowds
You’ll face yourself at the end of the day
And be damn proud of whatever you’ve made
Can’t hang it on the wall for the world to see
But you’ve got yourself a working man’s Ph.D

The hardest lesson I learned in the US Army was how to shave without looking at myself in the mirror.  Then I had to learn how to live with my mistakes to shave and look myself in the eye.  Right there and then, I learned the lesson contained in the following lines, “You’ll face yourself at the end of the day; And be damn proud of whatever you’ve made.”  In junior high school, I read Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary,” and the following quote stuck in my mental craw.  It comes out often to teach me more lessons.

The soil of a man’s heart is stony ground. A man grows what he can, and he tends it. ’Cause what you buy, is what you own. And what you own… always comes home.”

Thank you!Hard work teaches hard lessons, but the lessons learned are worth more than gold and diamonds, and I wouldn’t trade a single lesson learned for all the money in the world and all the fame in Hollywood.  Of all the degrees and titles I have acquired in this world, or will acquire, the only one I ever want is that of “Hard worker,” for that single title says it all.  When the chips and markers are counted at the end of life, I want to be found pulling my weight.  I might be disabled, I might be stubborn as a Missouri Mule with a mean streak a mile wide, but I want to be found pulling my weight.

Now there ain’t no shame in a job well done
From driving a nail to driving a truck
As a matter of fact, I’d like to set things straight
A few more people should be pullin’ their weight
If you wanna cram course in reality
You get yourself a working man’s Ph.D

Bobblehead DollMy deepest thanks to Aaron Tippin for his example and his incredible talent as a singer and person.  I have met many military people who sing Aaron Tippin’s praises, and I am very grateful for the talent shared.  May I encourage you to consider how well your studies are progressing on your “Working Man’s Ph.D.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

President Trump – Diligence, Faithfulness, and Prayers of Faith

Bobblehead DollPlease excuse me; I am branching out a little today.  However, I am not entering into the realms of religion, even though prayer and faith will be discussed.  I make this clear at the beginning so as to ensure no misunderstanding occurs; I am not here to tell you how, where, what, when, or who to worship; all I expect is the same courtesy in return.  We can discuss sensitive topics without causing problems and individuals choosing to be insulted.  There is a phrase (verse) in a book considered scripture by The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints that appears in the writings of Moses, somewhat differently worded as counsel to Joshua.  The same idea appears in the Old and New Testaments, and while in slightly different verbiage, it is available in various religious texts, dogmas, and belief structures.

All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith” (D&C 103:36).

Hence why I am branching out a little today.  On 9/11, during a speech, President Trump called for 21 days of prayer for the nation.  It was one of President Trump’s better speeches, in my opinion, and the action resonates well with his other pleas, counsel, and instruction for the American Nation from his presidency.  President Trump’s counsel brought this phrase to mind, and I thought, maybe it IS time for America to rediscover an essential truth.Religion Quote 2

What is diligence?

The dictionary often details diligence as being heedful, careful, and showing constant and earnest effort to accomplish a task.  Other definitions include constancy in the performance of duty or the conduct of business and the persistent exertion of body or mind.  One of my favorite definitions includes unflagging effort with constant personal attention.  Hence, when I define diligence, these are usually what I am using, close personal attention combined with unflagging effort to accomplish a task or fill a role.Apathy

I like an Indonesian proverb that proclaims the potential of diligence and encapsulates the possibility of diligent efforts.

Diligence is the beginning of brilliance.”

As a child, Samuel Johnson’s words were often quoted:

What we hope to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.”

Like the Indonesian proverb, Samuel Johnson’s words explicitly declare a truth; diligence is not observable in a single day or interaction.  Diligence requires observation over time.  Whether you like or dislike President Trump, was he diligent in performing the job as president; Yes.  The media hounded him so severely that even on his vacations, he couldn’t catch a break.  Whether you like or dislike President Biden, has he been diligent in performing the role of president; no, for he never fulfilled the role of Senator, unless you count selling influence as part of the role of being a senator.Angry Grizzly Bear

I distinguish between two people that are regularly in the news.  If you disagree, point to specific actions and their consequences to reflect a lack of diligent effort in performing the role of president.  Critical thinking requires evaluation and honest appraisals of situations.  Of the presidents I have observed, only President Reagan was more diligent than President Trump in fulfilling the role of president.  Agree or disagree, but use the definitions of diligent and diligence to support and defend your judgments.  The reverse is also true; the least diligent president to date is Biden, with only Obama and Carter rounding out the top three.

What is faithfulness?

Faithful is a word we should use more often and not when describing the actions of dogs!  According to the dictionary, faithful includes aspects of truth, loyalty, constancy, and a character of being exact and reliable.  Consider something faithful: being steadfast in affection and allegiance, being firm in your promises and observances of duty, and finally being true to facts, standards, and laws.

Mother Teresa is quoted as saying:

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

Pink Monarch ButterflyLike tiny stones that fill gaps and plug holes in an earthen dam, the faithfulness of small things empowers the dam to remain strong.  Consider the story of the Dutch kid with his finger in the dam, it was a small thing that broke, and it was a small thing that plugged the hole.  Faithfulness is not about grand actions, large token gifts, and glorious virtue signals.  Faithfulness is all about the small daily acts of charity, the defense of a friend when gossip comes, and the day-to-day carrying out of duty.  Have you ever seen a butterfly’s wing under a microscope; little tiny feathers.  Each little tiny feather being faithful allows the butterfly to fly.  There is power in being faithful!

Detective 4Consider two examples and determine which is faithful to their cause, even if you do not support their cause.  Congresswoman A. Ocasio-Cortez went to the MET Gala event wearing a “Tax the Rich” message on her dress.  Tickets cost upwards of $35,000, and other costs are always exorbitant for these affairs.  Al Gore and the man-made climate change political machine demand that everyone else change their behavior, but not those directing the movement.  Personal lives do not reflect the public image created, personal conduct does not reflect public demeanor towards the issues advocated, and individual lifestyle does not meet minimum standards to match words.  By definition, is either of these two faithful to their causes?  Why are they followed?

Never forget critical thinking requires observation and decision-making, using the best information available.  More to the point, when critical thinking, you will always be asked to defend your positions logically.  Emotion has no place in critical thinking, observation, and discernment.Life Valued

What are prayers of faith?

A prayer of faith is a prayer that is made iwith complete confidence in God’s power.  Consider the New Testament and instructions left by the master instructor.  Jesus talked to His disciples repeatedly about prayer. He told them to pray for God’s kingdom to be represented on earth and for His will to be done; He told them to pray for their daily sustenance, for forgiveness, and strength against temptation. He also said to them that anything they asked for in His name, for God’s glory, would be done for them, and He assured them that God knows how to give good gifts to His children.  Hence, prayers of faith are part of all Christian religions and sects, and you find similar teaching in Judaism and Muslim faiths and denominations. Therefore, when we discuss this particular topic, all people can look to the prayers of faith, confident that solutions will come.  Yes, you are included atheists and other non-traditional religions, and whether you call it prayer, self-reflection, or becoming centered, please participate in prayers of faith.

Knowledge Check!I am not here to tell you what to pray for.  I think President Trump asking for us to petition for more honest, transparent, forthright, and constitutionally sound leadership in elected officials is an excellent first step for America.  I genuinely think having a knowledgeable, informed, and capable electorate is more important, and petitioning heaven’s help to achieve an informed electorate is critical.  However, the first steps in improving the electorate are found inside each of us.  Are we willing to be diligent and faithful in our actions, decisions, and lives publicly and privately and support the good in others?  If we are not willing to be faithful and diligent, what good is keeping America alive?

I know my answers; how do you choose?

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Some People Change

Bird of PreyMontgomery Gentry sings one of my all-time favorite songs, “Some People Change.”  If you pay attention to the song’s lyrics, you hear about people who make a conscious decision about how they will live in the future.  Leaving me with the question, how am I doing?

As a fourteen-year-old kid, I remember standing at the bus stop, in the February cold of Morrill, Maine, shortly after my birthday, and committing to leading a life where the chains of abuse and the history of violence in my family stopped with me.  From that day to this, almost 40-years, I can say I have failed and succeeded, but I am still in the fight.

Mother Teresa is a person I look up to.  Kindness personified, even in the midst of the most desperate of human circumstances, she kept emptying the ocean one teaspoon of kindness at a time.  There are times when I hope to be as kind as Mother Teresa, and then I realize that will require a lot more work.  Mother Teresa has several quotes that I enjoy that apply to our times:

      • Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
      • Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
      • Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

Finest HourMy mother-in-law was a scrapper; born to an alcoholic and abusive father who stole her wages for the ability to drink; my mother-in-law came into this world fighting mad and swinging.  A knuckle-busting, streetfighting, hell on heels kind of gal.  I swear my mother-in-law could have scared Kitty Leroy into being an honest woman!

In her late 80s, she had a run-in with a high school football player who a grocery store employed; the player cried after getting her tongue lashing.  Their relationship improved over time.  When my mother-in-law passed from this mortal plane, she was kind, considerate, and angelic.  Her last five years or so were spent being 100% helpless from a fall where she broke a bone near her hip.  When I hear Montgomery Gentry sing their song, I thank the powers that be for having witnessed such a tremendous change in such an incredible woman.

Let me tell a story about my mother-in-law and her fighting spirit.  As a kid, my wife and about 14 of her classmates caught polio.  My wife was headed for split leg muscles, an iron lung, and a reduced lifespan.  My mother-in-law fought the doctors, did a lot of research, and through her convincing ways, 14 of those classmates, including my wife, walk today, had families, had long productive lives, and have experienced joy-filled lives post-polio.  The one classmate whose parents were convinced by medical professionals suffered greatly for her short life.Foghorn Leghorn - Medication

When I think of some people who change, President Abraham Lincoln comes readily to mind.  While he might not have made the dramatic changes my mother-in-law made, the changes he made were more fundamental and led America through some tough times.  Consider President Lincoln’s most famous executive order, “The Emancipation Proclamation.”  One of the few times in American Presidential history where I agree with the use of executive orders to make fundamental social change.  A true shame is that the Congress of the United States refuses to make this part of official law in America.  Like Mother Teresa, President Lincoln has said some things which I enjoy and motivate me.

      • Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
      • Whatever you are, be a good one.”
      • America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
      • I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me, and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”

I often quote my experiences with Miss Murphy, Principal of Governor Anderson Elementary School, SAD 34, Belfast, Maine.  I am who I am today because Miss Murphy influenced me in a primary manner that changed my life.  Two people had a tremendous impact on my life, Miss Murphy and a family friend who became my best friend.  Two people from paradoxical backgrounds chose to invest in me as a person, above and beyond the typical call of duty.  Miss Murphy had a poster in her office, it was of a forest of pine trees, with a path that wandered into the background, but the caption on this poster has stayed with me since the first time I saw it:

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

I did not know why, the first time I saw that poster, I liked it.  But, after enough years of thoughtful consideration, I understand why I love that poster.  How many times have we wanted a friend but got a follower or a person who wanted to lead; I do not know about you, but this has happened too many times.Friends Quote

To the bigots ignorant of history, please keep your yap shut!  Another person I recognize as a great leader, amazing person, and someone who personified the saying, “Some people change,” is General Robert E. Lee.  A man known to walk through his Arlington fields where Confederate and Union soldiers were laid to rest who prayed for those entombed.  The US Congress thought to punish General Robert E. Lee by seizing his fields for a National Cemetery, but in the end, the seizure was not the punishment the US Congress thought; that is the character of the man.  General Lee makes several points the world would be wiser to heed.

      • We failed, but in the good providence of God, apparent failure often proves a blessing.
      • I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.
      • Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character.
      • The education of a man is never completed until he dies.
      • Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or to keep one.

A “Liberty FIRST Culture” recognizes that truth comes when people change.  People can choose to change, and in changing their minds, change the world.  Never give up on people!

Dont Tread On MeThanks to the brave!  Some people change!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.