Life Notes: Work Ethic Lives on in Father
by Missy Goodwin, Human Resources Assistant

Recently, I overheard a co-worker commenting on how people used to have a stronger work ethic than they do nowadays. Many people may not even fully understand what those two words “work ethic” mean, but I do. I have a two-word definition: My Dad. My dad worked, and retired from, the same job for 45 years. Was it because he was really “happy” with his job? Who knows? He never complained! He just knew that he had three daughters and a wife to support, so he did what he had to do. This “work ethic”, combined with a strong sense of responsibility and integrity, carried over into every aspect of his life, not just the part he was being paid to do.

During the last 11 years of my mother’s life, she was plagued with a progressive, debilitating illness. Daddy not only worked a full time job – which meant 12 hour shifts – but he also took care of Mamma, the house, the laundry, the dogs – you name it. Many evenings after working from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., he would come in, clean up, and load my mother up in the car and take her out for a meal, or maybe just a drive. I know he had to be bone tired; but my mother stayed cooped up in the house all day, and he felt she needed a change of scenery.

Quite often on his days off, they would make the one-hour trip to see my family and me. And every chance they got, they would travel to Missouri to see my sister and her family. Maybe none of this sounds extraordinary to you, but you see my Dad managed all this while battling his own set of pretty serious health problems, which included two heart attacks, quadruple by-pass surgery, colon cancer, chemotherapy, and an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Yet through it all, he managed to work until my mother passed away five years ago. I saw how those 11 years took a toll on him, but still he never complained. You never see my dad that he isn’t wearing a great big, boyish grin, and it’s very likely that he’ll also be whistling, and he will most definitely be making you laugh. Even during the rough years.

In today’s society, we are encouraged to pursue whatever avenue we feel compelled to explore in our relentless pursuit of happiness. If you hate your career, simply change. If you “fall out of love” with your spouse, simply get a divorce, etc. My dad promised my mother “for better or worse, in sickness and in health”, and that was the bottom line. I certainly don’t mean to imply that my dad didn’t love my mom, but that part was incidental. The part that mattered was the commitment he made to ALWAYS BE THERE. And he was! And he continues to be there for me, my sisters, and anyone else who needs him.

Daddy, you’re my HERO.

The Life Notes articles are written by staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and are published in The Ruston Daily Leader.

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