Practice makes perfect, and only determined work makes us good at anything.

Monday, 9/2/13

Today is Labor Day, a day given to reflecting on the value of hard work. We see it as fulfilling God's command from the first chapter of the Bible when he told us to, “fill the earth and subdue it.”

In reflecting on the value of hard work. we are moved to honoring those who have given their lives to hard work. I particularly honor my dad and a seminary priest who was both our rector and Philosophy professor.

My dad was a telegraph operator at Western Union. By working there six days a week for sixty years, he put good food on our supper table for the ten of us. There was  his mother, sister, wife and six kids. He was paid every other Friday, and he used his October two week vacation to paint the house and repair the windows.

We speak of a “well earned rest.” The fact is that a really enjoyable rest can only come when it is well earned. My dad used the hunt-and-peck method of typing, but with it he could type telegraph messages coming over three different lines. He could compose a great little book of family poetry, and he could send weekly letters to all his kids and grandkids away from home.   

In a homily a month ago I spoke of my seminary rector in regard to his warnings against dissipation. Father Kielt liked golfing, reading good books, partying with friends; but he liked those occupations only when he had earned them by solid work. He saw that playing that goes on-and-on without being earned is dissipation which takes the edge off our ability to perform well.

As our professor, Father Kielt explained the philosophical basis for “Practice makes perfect.” Philosophy told us that all faculties, such as memory, mental probing, shooting baskets only grow stronger and better by exercising themselves.

When Father Kielt came on as rector, he told us he wanted us to expand from playing on a small softball field to playing on a proper baseball field. He wanted us to have two tennis courts and a proper hockey rink. Then, he had us organizing ourselves, and giving four afternoons a week to constructing those facilities. And when we had completed them, did we ever enjoy them!  

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