WUN FEATHER -- My message today is ... as Elders and parents, or grandparents ... we need to get back to doing our jobs
Today is a day off for me. On my days off, weekends and vacation days, I am always up a lot earlier than on the days that I go to work.
You might think that is kinda backwards, but let me tell you why that is.
When I was three, my Grandpa Alex had a logging company; A & A Logging out of Laidlaw BC.
As a child, I can distinctly remember how he and my uncles would smell when they came home after a long day falling, bucking and limbing old growth timber up on Harrison Lake.
The smell of their sweat was worse than bigfoot! But there was another smell that grabbed me. The smell of the Hemlock, and cypress, and freshly turned dirt!
I always asked my grandpa if I could come along and "work" with him. The first dozen times that I asked him, he just laughed.
But my Grandma Annie could see the look of determination on my face, and she began packing an extra sandwich in my grandpa’s lunch box. Each night when he would come home, I would rush out to greet him, and I would carry his lunch kit back to the house for him.
I would watch him and my uncles wash the days grime and sweat off their bodies, and I would open up my grand dad’s lunch box to see what was left. And the treasure I would find was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!!!
The old timer would tell me that he couldn't eat all his lunch and ask me to get rid of the sandwich before gramma found out he did not eat it. Ha-ha. Done!
Well my friends, one night my dream came true.
Grandpa had been teaching me how to run his little bulldozer in the yard, and that one night, he said to me "Hey Wunfeather! If you are up and at it, and ready to go by 4:30 in the morning, you can come along."
"You can take that old bulldozer and keep the log landing clear so the trucks can turn around"
Wholly suffering suckatash!! I can tell you that I was on cloud nine! I slept really fast!
I was up before everyone else, and sitting at the breakfast table by the time my grandpa and uncles made their way into the dining room.
That was the beginning of a new life for me!
Grandpa knew that he could not afford to pay a grown man to play around on the bulldozer all day keeping the roads and landings clear, but having a kid do it for free made sense. And what the old guy did was build a dream inside of me that no amount of money could buy.
Every single chance I got when I wasn't in school, I was helping out. I would mix gas for the chainsaws. I would fill the saws with gas and oil, and within a short amount of time, I could sharpen the chains and change the spark plugs.
As I grew older, we moved away, to another reserve at Good Hope Lake, and I can remember sleeping in for the first time.
The dream was gone. I had no motivation whatsoever, and it showed in the way I walked and talked. I was becoming a lazy 9-year-old.
My mum and dad noticed that, and my dad sat me down and asked me if I felt capable of being his janitor at the school? Was I old enough to sweep the floors and mop them? Could I empty the garbage cans and burn the paper waste?
Wow. Almost instantly, I came back to life! I was up and at it each morning, and I was busy each day.
What my message today is, as Elders and parents, or grandparents, we need to get back to doing our jobs.
We need to carefully study our children or grandchildren and come up with chores and responsibilities that motivate them.
Children only think that work is a bad thing if they are told that is so.
If we speak about daily tasks that need to be done in a way that gives each task an honor, our children will realize that each and everything we do has a value! Children need a sense of accomplishment and pride in the things that they do.
Here I am, a 62-year-old guy who went to sleep last night thinking about my tasks for today. I have a ton of work to do in the shop, have some cutting and welding to do on the Rubicon, and I need to clear some trapline trails and get some sweetgrass.
So, you can see that even though today is a day off work, today is a day that I am not working for my boss.
I am not working for wages; No. Today, I am working for ME!
So why wouldn't I work a lot harder for me than I do for my boss?
The motivation that my Grandpa Alex built inside of me when I was a child is still here today ...59 years later.
They say that it takes a community to raise a child. Well, a community is made up of Elders and family members too.
Let's all get back to doing our jobs and raise some great children!