teaching the old dogI’m at the age that is often referred to in our rough-around-the-edges-society as “An old dog”. It’s not so much a designated age or number as it is a mindset and enough wrinkles to show the time and the effect of the earth’s elements on a soul cage.

With enough sunrises and sunsets, a person lives through it’s easy to begin to take a lot for granted. We get set in our ways, often become opinionated, maybe obstinate, and not really open to anything new. That’s the stuff that “old dogs” are made up of.

I strive not to be like an old dog, but I do struggle with it, struggle with taking too much for granted, even when I know I shouldn’t. And yeah, sometimes I’m grouchy and short with people in my life, including my loved ones.

One thing this old dog has learned for certain while bouncing along the bumpy roads of life is this; work is a virtue and some of the greatest gratifications in life come from things earned. The gift of salvation being the great exception and the wisdom that comes from that acknowledgement is the basis of intelligence that understands the laws of this physical life as well as the heart of the Lawgiver that isn’t subject to them.

My sixteen-year-old daughter doesn’t quite grasp the concept of hard work and discipline that we’re trying to teach her. Oh, she knows she has to work, but she wants to do it on her terms. When the places she’s applied to online call her back… but the old dog doesn’t wait or play by rules for standards of today’s society.

“I’m gonna take you over to my office, you’re gonna clean it, starting with the bathrooms,” I informed her.

“But I have an interview next week?” the youngest argued… the youngest always argues… I know…

“That’s next week, you need to work this week,” I answered the beginning of the barrage of questions and suggestions.

The office is all men except for one college age girl and more that a half a dozen men, construction type men, share one of the bathrooms… I hate to even go in that bathroom, but the toughest and ugliest jobs do a lot for a person… I know, I’m an old dog… an old dog that hasn’t cleaned one of my own bathrooms after twenty-five years in business.

Therein lies the problem with being the old dog that knows humility and leading by example goes a long way. If getting my daughter started by showing her that cleaning up after the guys isn’t below me, even though I don’t have to, it’s certainly not below her.

The toilet was bad, but the floor, especially directly in front of the toilet was even worse… at least we had a mop… that is until I broke it by pulling on the handle to squeeze the excess cleaner and water out of the sponge that wasn’t quite soft enough yet and pushed it from the metal head instead of squeezing the excess water.

I didn’t hesitate, threw the mop in the trash and grabbed the disinfectant wipes and started mopping the floor by hand. Just as we were finishing the floor my daughter spoke up, “I don’t mind this, how come you didn’t let me work here sooner?” she asked.

I smiled and told her I didn’t know.

It’s a good day when an old dog can teach a valuable life lesson… and teaching the old dog a new trick.