Life As an Every Day Hero

Meditations in Motion

Readers of this blog know that my husband and I recently traveled to Colorado to celebrate our grandson’s fifth birthday. I wrote about our trips out and back earlier this summer.

It is easy to forget just how enlightening conversations with a five-year-old boy can be.

One morning, for example, I walked into a room where my husband and grandson were playfully arguing about who had “tooted“.

You did!” “No, it was you!” “It was you, Tooter McSmellypants!” At this point, my husband won the argument, since my grandson dissolved in laughter.

We, of course, heard the epithet “Tooter McSmellypants” for the rest of the visit. If something is funny the first time to a young boy, it is hilarious the twentieth time.

Meditations in Motion

Another day, my grandson and I watched as a small bulldozer prepared their neighbor’s backyard to have a concrete patio installed.

Just like his father, the boy loves to watch construction vehicles. I can remember spending a morning watching steamrollers, dump trucks, and pavement spreaders when my son was about the same age and our street was being paved.

The young man who operated the bulldozer soon realized he had an audience of two and introduced himself as Brian to my grandson and me.

I used to love to watch bulldozers when I was your age,” Brian told us, smiling.

Then my grandson said something profound. Something I am still thinking about today. “Wow!” he said, “You really did make your dreams come true.

Brian laughed, somewhat sheepishly. “I guess I did,” he replied.

To a just-turned-five-year-old boy, the dream of driving something as cool as a bulldozer is real and magnificent. To a dirty, sweaty thirty-year-old, actually driving a bulldozer for hours in the sweltering summer sun is something else, something much less dreamlike.

It is my guess that as he got older, Brian did not dream of driving a bulldozer for a living and this was the source of his embarrassment. Bulldozer driver is not a career we are typically encouraged to aspire to when considering potential occupations.

Young people are often inspired to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, accountants, or even titans of business, all well-respected and well-paid professions.

Meditations in MotionBut these days more than ever, I think, we are beginning to realize, we need grocery store cashiers, we need bus drivers, and people who work at meat-packing plants, and farmers, and nurses, and teachers, and garbage collectors, and child care workers.

We need police officers, and social workers, and custodians, and waitresses. We need bulldozer drivers.

Here are three thoughts about these every day heroes.
  1. These jobs have value, they have worth, they have inherent dignity. Workers with these job titles deserve our respect.

    And they deserve more pay.

    Frontline workers earn less than the average worker in the United States and are composed of a larger share of minorities, particularly Blacks and Hispanics.

  2. Early in the pandemic, we expressed our gratitude to health care workers with parades, organized cheering events, and social media posts thanking them for putting their lives on the line by showing up to work every day.

    But we didn’t do anything to increase their salary.

    Or help them with child care, even though a whopping 23% of all health support personnel are single mothers (compared to 8% of all workers).

  3. Essential workers are heroes and here’s the thing that is so amazing: they keep on doing heroic things every day because that’s the way they live their lives. They do it humbly, they do it without seeking praise, they do it in service of others.

    We need selfless heroes today more than ever. We need people to step up and care for each other. We need it to become a way of life, a matter of course. We need to do it without thinking twice, all of us, just like health care workers do.

    Just like the garbage collectors and farmers and child care workers do every day.

    Just like the bulldozer drivers.

The Lord has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; The Lord has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. – Luke 1:52

 

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73 comments

  1. Well stated, Laurie! All workers deserve dignity and respect and livable wages – no matter the work, we depend on each of them, and it is sad that it take such a huge crisis to reveal just how important each and every person is! Thank you, as always, for your inspiring posts! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When *my* kids were that age, there was a TV show on PBS called Higgily Town Heros. In each episode the action surrounded a person in a different career. The show was very non-judgmental. Janitors and scientists were afforded the same amount of respect. By watching that show, my thoughts became extremely socialist. We should be paid based on how well we do our job, whatever it is, not based on what our career choice is. This line of thinking wouldn’t go very far in our society.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s some birthday cake there Laurie. It almost covers up your grandson’s face because it is so tall. You make several valid points in this post … the shout outs to first responders have dwindled to some door designs mostly and the white ribbons around tree trunks, but the yard signs for the most part are gone because people mow the lawn and get tired of moving them out of the way then back to the front again. It’s sad. Atti would love to be on my street these days … for a solid week, they’ve had heavy earth-moving machinery as they tear apart the cross-street. I personally never thought it had a problem and there are streets that need a lot of help, not this area. I feel the windows shake each time they drop a pile of concrete or whatever they are moving there Yesterday I had errands and pulled out of the driveway to head to the main drag only to meet a convoy of Mack trucks and gas company workers … I asked “where are you going – not to my house I hope” and they were reconnecting a gas main between two houses. The mess, the truck drama – dirt was flying, a tunnel on a homeowners’ property. Yes, I see the bulldozer driver’s mindset from that Atti’s comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The cake was delicious, Linda. It was exactly what Atti asked for – vanilla cake with chocolate icing and strawberries. It was delicious. The 5 of us ate it on his birthday and we ate 1/4 of the cake! Then the next day, one of Atti’s friends came over with his parents and the 8 of us ate again AND we sent 1/4 of the cake home with the little boy. We still had 1/4 of a cake left! It was huge!!! Atti would love to watch all the machines on your street. He loves construction vehicles of any kind.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It looked delicious and huge! I’m thinking that is universal for little boys to love big trucks and also to play with them, especially in a sandbox. Finally, these guys (and a gal or two) working on my street poured some cement today – the peace and quiet from the beep, beep, beep noises and the rumbling will hopefully be welcomed soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Nicely said, Laurie.
    I try to be especially nice whenever I come across everyday heroes. The lady at the cashout, the young man filling up the shelves, the postman bringing the package.

    I’m afraid the system will not support a salary increase any time soon. But at least we can treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My husband falls into that category of both essential and hero. Having gone to work every day during this time, there are no words to express the concern I have felt each morning as he goes out the door. May we all become a little more selfless and a little more grateful because we truly need to care for one another. Wonderful post, Laurie!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes! I have 2 sons who are welders, an occupation not even on my radar 10 years ago, but they have worked throughout the pandemic and continue through this sweltering summer.
    And it makes me happy to hear that you got a visit with your Colorado kids. Ours came here. So I guess we’re both missing our people these days…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! My cousin has been a welder for years. I think of him often in this sweltering heat working outside with a welding torch. How nice you got a visit from the Colorado contingent of your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. More than ever, we need people to go into the trades. These are high-tech jobs and they require a surprising amount of skill and understanding of math and physics principles most of us never adequately learned or have long since forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I believe every society should have places of honor for those who create with tools in their hands – they are invaluable – the carpenters, plumbers, pipe fitters, machiniists, etc are terribly important . I’ve known several men who loved to have tools in their hands and were happy to do that until they died.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As the wife of a bulldozer owner, I’d bet Brian is making pretty good dough, specially if he is an owner/operator. He may not get to keep $2,000 per day because a lot of it goes to either repairs, maintenance or loan payments depending on the age and condition of the dozer, but I bet he brings in that much, or more, in a day.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love your grandson’s comments. Children so often have the funniest things to say but they can also be really profound. And I agree, the pandemic has really highlighted the incredible value of professions that are so often undervalued and underpaid. I hope it does make a difference to people’s perceptions in future as well as to the wages they receive.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello,

    Great post! The story about your grandson and the bulldozer is cute. We do need the everyday hero..I am thankful they show up for work. I am thankful to all the workers. Take care, hope your day is great!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Funny how you and I often think alike. I was just having a similar conversation with my daughter about “blue-collar” jobs and how much we need them. I told her without plumbers, electricians, carpenters, mechanics, etc. we would all have to do those jobs ourselves, and I don’t think that would go over so well for most of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love that comment about making his dreams come true. 🙂 Sometimes the youngest among us can be the most profound. Thanks for sharing about your grandson. I know your time together was priceless! I, too, am so grateful for the everyday heroes among us. They keep me alive and well!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Well said. We are all important and the world is a better place because of Everyday Heroes.
    Enjoyed your post so much.
    Loved the conversations of your Grandson and I too watched endless garbage trucks picking up stuff and every make of car and truck on the highway with my boys, especially the older one.
    Great memories.
    Sue

    Like

  15. A-men, Laurie!! Beautifully said! This post says it perfectly.
    We need parades for all those you mentioned… I try, in my own way, by thanking and acknowledging. But I especially love what someone did at my local grocery store early in the pandemic: she bought Starbucks for every single employee in the store that morning as a thank you for their heroics. I loved that story! Made me proud of my community!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post! I agree that the blue collar worker deserves more respect and better pay. I read the scripture and thought how those we once idolized: actors, football players, celebrities… are now at home and the real people who ‘make the world go round’ are getting noticed for the heros they are.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Nothing and no one can make me laugh right from my soul like my grandchildren. They are life’s most wonderful blessings. I cherish every minute we have. From 10 – 17, they are sheer delight. I miss seeing the oldest 4. Maryland and Massachusetts aren’t on the best of terms right now and traveling is nigh impossible.

    Sadly.

    But the memories remain. And the love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grandchildren certainly are life’s most wonderful blessings. PA and Massachusetts aren’t exactly on good terms either. I checked because I wanted to visit my sister. As you siad, the memories and the love remain!

      Like

  18. First of all, you have an adorable grandson, Laurie! And your visit reminded me of my recent visit to my 2-year-old grandson in NC. It was so much fun playing with his “toy” dump truck and blocks. I’m sure he would have been thrilled to watch a real dump truck or, better yet, bulldozer in action.

    Second, I love what you’re encouraging us to remember. We do need to thank and appreciate the price so many are paying–stepping in to help us in a huge time of need. And “amen” to all three of your thoughts as well! Hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This brought back good memories of spending hours with my son watching big equipment. When he was 2 they re-did the road in front of our neighborhood. Everyday we walked down to watch the equipment a few blocks away. After hours we would go down so he could sit on the ones that had accessible seats. I was forever stopping the car to watch some machines at work, which drove his sister crazy. And yes, we need all of the jobs. Every one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boys have a fascination with machinery. Last year when we visited, we watched the construction vehicles as they built a new jail. The sheriff came out and I thought he was going to ask us to move, but he gave my grandson an “official” sheriff’s badge. 🙂

      Like

  20. I often think about these heroes — because they truly are. I know that even in the best of times, it’s not something I’d want to do. I know it for sure, because as a teen, I spent years working as a cashier. A thankless job indeed.

    Wonderful post, Laurie.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Well said!!! My son is one of these people. College just wasn’t for him and he works construction and drives various vehicles. Our world requires all different types of people to make it go round. Thanks for linking up and have a great weekend!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. When my oldest was about that age, we were getting our oil changed at Jiffy lube. He was fascinated with the guy working underneath the car. My heart swelled as the guy came out to talk to him. I loved that he wasn’t too jaded to do that. While my son didn’t become a mechanic, he is a 4th year apprentice in the local electricians’ union. He loves to tinker. I agree with you about essential workers. We make the world go around!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Amen, Laurie! A person who does his or her job well consistently, no matter what it is, has my admiration for sure. And I had to smile about boys who rubberneck at heavy machinery … my daughter Molly does the same thing, even now at 15 years old! She once sat in our driveway for several hours watching as our neighbor had her driveway torn out and replaced with new concrete. Makes my heart happy that she’s interested in such things! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good for Molly! I have only sons and grandsons (no girls in this family…yet!) so I thought maybe it was just a boy thing. I guess it would be interesting for everyone!

      Like

  24. I love this post! I teach a Career Development class to Middle school students and one of our projects is where they pick an occupation from a hat and they have to play that “role” throughout the course ( making a budget, paying bills, etc). Jobs range from fast food worker to doctor and I always tell them that EVERY JOB is important.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Well said, Laurie. The highlight of my boys’ week was watching the garbage men and their big truck. What would we do without them?

    It’s sad to me that essential workers make so little and athletes and celebrities make so much. The service that provided caregiving help when my m-i-l was here charged us $17 per hour, but the aide only received less that $10 of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My grandson LOVES the garbage men. They make a point of honking their horn and waving as they drive by because he has talked to them so much. The disparity in income is disheartening. We need to reexamine our values.

      Like

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