is always time to do it over, but seemingly never time to do it right
the first time.
As a youngster in high
school and college, I worked with my father in his lucrative masonry
and concrete contracting business. He was in partnership with his
brother Walter. Dad directed the residential and commercial
construction while Uncle Walter handled the industrial work. Dad built
everything from swimming pools, churches, stores, business buildings
with their terrazzo flooring, grand homes to breweries in Milwaukee. I
would work with him on weekends and holidays. I was one of the richest
kids in school because of my regular earnings. I was proud to be
working with my father.
He was a pragmatic,
very matter-of-fact man, but he was also a philosopher and a dreamer.
Few would have noticed his philosophical bent, but it was there
surrounding him as a glorious charisma. He took the architect’s plan
and discussed them with the customer, found out what their intention
and dream for themselves was and he brought their dream to life. He
was not an outwardly religious man, but the thousands of meditation
hours he spent in his boat fishing while at our lake cottage belied
His motto, among many
others, was: Do it right the first time and you will never have to do
it over. He taught me to pound the nail square on the head holding the
hammer properly in my hand so the weight of the hammer could bring to
bear its full power in driving the nail straight into the board. I
took this philosophy to heart into many areas of my life and I use it
Then as now, shoddy
workmanship can be seen everywhere, if this is what we look for.
However, exquisite workmanship can be seen everywhere, if this is what
we look for. For whatever is in our consciousness, whatever is in our
"eye" that is what we see.
I recently had a
building erected on the campus to house the offices of the dean, a
counseling room, a lecture hall, the Jermini Prayer Chapel and a
recreation center. I knew what I wanted. I told the workers what I
expected. They often told me such perfection could not be
accomplished. I told them it could and would. If they did not do as I
asked the first time I would have their work torn out and have it done
right by someone else. Surprisingly they were generally able to do it
right the first time after that. It is not that these men were shoddy
or careless in their work; it was just that no one had ever expected
perfection out of them, the first time.
My dad shared with me
his wisdom. I shared my wisdom with my son. My son is now sharing his
wisdom with his son. Do it right the first time, smile!