Right Tools for the Job?

Growing up, my dad worked as an electrician at a lumber mill in California.  I remember at times, he would take me to his shop at the plant and as a young teenager, I was always in awe at all the ‘stuff’ in the shop – the equipment, machines, supplies, parts, pieces, etc.  The one thing that grabbed my attention the most though was my dad’s ‘tool box’ – or should I say ‘tool chest’.  My dad had one of those tool boxes that stood about 5 feet tall – had many drawers, cabinets and cubbies… and it seemed like all of them were full of different shapes, sizes and types of tools.  Wow – he actually needed all those tools to do his job?  I was impressed!  I can remember thinking before I really knew specifically what my dad did, that all he probably used for his job was maybe a screwdriver and a pair of wire cutters.  Boy, was I wrong!

As I’ve thought about my own life and my dad’s tool chest, it has reminded me about the importance of knowing what’s in my own toolbox and do I have the right tools for the job?  I’m not talking about what’s in my garage or shop, but rather what’s in my heart and mind and where my priorities are.  Am I pursuing the ‘right tools’ to be successful in the job called life?  If I needed a ‘hammer’, will I find one in my ‘box’?  I’ve talked with people who seem like their main priorities in life are all about making (and spending) money.  It is sad… I’ve been there. I would agree that money is important, but like everything else, it’s just a tool.  People who make money their goal, or their job their priority, do typically amass the ‘dough’ and have a significant sized bank account.  But, focusing on money is like my dad focusing on purchasing 100 screwdrivers and making sure his toolbox was full of them. If he needed a screwdriver, he’d surely have plenty to choose from.  But, what if he needed a pair of wire cutters, or a wrench, a hammer or a level?  Would he find what he needed?  Sure, he could make the argument that the screwdriver is what he uses the most, but I know from watching my dad work, that it by far is not the only tool he uses.  Looking in my dad’s toolbox, it was very evident that it was a priority of his to make sure he had not only had the right tools for the job, but also to make sure that they were quality tools.  I can remember my dad telling me that most of his tools were purchased from one specific company because they made the best ones – they were reliable.

I know I have to remind myself of this principle often. I’ve been known to be like a ‘dog on a bone’ when it comes to my focus on ‘things’. Periodically, I have to revaluate and re-prioritize what I am focusing my time, energy and efforts on. In our fast paced, ‘easy come’ culture, I can gain, accomplish and accrue just about anything (any ‘tool’) I desire. So, the question becomes, am I pursuing the ‘right tools’ and are they balanced for who I am and what I want my life to be all about?  I am ‘driven’ by three parts of my being – my body, my mind and my spirit.  In order to live healthy, I must pursue gaining the proper tools to live right in each of those areas.  It is easy to get out of balance – I’ve been there more times than I’d like to admit.  But I do know that when I am ‘out of whack’, important relationships suffer the consequences – my wife, my son, my boss, my God…

I don’t want a toolbox full of mostly ‘screwdrivers’ – I want my life ‘toolbox’ to be well balanced and usable… in all situations.  I want to be able to ‘reach in’ and be able to find the ‘right tool’ for each circumstance, situation and dilemma that comes.   I’ve learned that I will naturally gather a well balanced set of ‘life tools’ when my priorities are balanced and in the right order – God, wife, kids, family, helping others, work, hobbies, etc…

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