2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” -NIV
Proverbs 13:4 “The soul of a lazy man desires and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” -NKJV
My dad taught me the value of hard work when I was six years old. I will never forget that cool Monday morning on June 28, 1965; this was the day that changed my life. My dad walked into my bedroom and asked me, “Do you want to work today picking up leaves behind the tobacco harvester?”
Side Note: This tobacco harvester was a motorized machine that was steered by a driver going down the tobacco rows. The crew riding the harvester consisted of four croppers riding downstairs pulling the tobacco leaves off the stalk and placing the leaves in a revolving clip and chain system that circled upstairs in which a looper assigned to each cropper would pull the leaves off the clip and wrap the leaves around a five-foot-long wooden stick with tobacco twine (string). Once the stick was full of tobacco the driver would remove the stick from a wooden looping horse (container that held the wooden stick) and place the stick on a metal rack hanging on the back of the harvester. The looper would get a new wooden stick and start the process over again. When the rack got full the driver would steer the harvester to a barn and the crew would remove the wooden sticks off the rack and into the barn to be heated in order for the tobacco to be cured-out and eventually the cured-out tobacco would be transported by a truck to a warehouse to be auctioned off to the tobacco manufacturers. It was quite a process.
I said, “Sure, why not?” I had no idea of what I was volunteering for. I looked at the clock; it was 6:00 am. My eyes were open but my brain asleep as per my answer to my dad’s question. I went to work that day. I thought I was going through hell. The big tobacco leaves hit me in the face. The smell of tobacco gum on my face and body was not very pleasant. The leaves were half as tall as I was. It seemed like the four croppers were dropping more leaves on the ground versus the leaves going up stairs via the chain and sprocket concept to be received by the loopers. They said this was job security for me. I said, “Don’t do me any favors.” I considered it hell. Thank God for my dad. He tried to pick up some of the leaves that fell out of the clips onto the ground. He would reach over and grab some leaves to put back in his basket. My uncle, cousin and my brother weren’t concerned about my workload. At least my dad had some compassion on his six-year-old son. His compassion ended the next morning when he came into my bedroom at 6:00 am and said it was time to get up and go pick up leaves. I said to him, “I don’t want to go.” He said, “The first day is voluntary, the second day mandatory.” This was the beginning of my study of relating work to money. I was learning the business of hard work. It wasn’t all bad. I learned a lot about developing discipline and doing the things you don’t want to do in order to get the job done. The treat at the end of the summer was taking my hard-earned money that my mother had put away in a jar for me and driving to H Stadium in Kinston to buy my school clothes.
Financial lessons learned by inspiring your kids to work
Hard work never hurt anyone. In fact, the hard work that was instilled in me by my father gave me an appreciation of things. I was raised that there was no free lunch. You didn’t get something for nothing. If you wanted it, you go out and work for it. My dad believed if you couldn’t pay cash for an item, you didn’t need it. He went in debt for very few things in life. He borrowed $5000 to build his own home. He also financed a commercial building for investment purposes. He considered these assets. He believed there is some good debt if the property will pay for itself. He paid off that $5000 note on his home in a short period of time. I am proud of my humble beginnings. I learned how to get up and go to work when I had much rather laid in bed. This discipline has served me well over the years. I can motivate myself. I learned about the feelings that come from accomplishing a job, goal, or project. I was fortunate growing up to have the teaching of two great mentors, my father and grandfather, who instilled a sense of honesty in business dealings and hard work. I was blessed later in life in my other businesses when I mentioned that I was Furney Eubanks' son. His reputation helped me land a lot of jobs. People would tell me, “If you are anything like your dad, I want you to do the job.” I learned how to manage money to a certain degree because of my father. I became a better manager as I got older. I am a risk taker and overall that trait has served me well. It has also caused me some financial problems over the years which could have been avoided with a little more planning and cautious optimism. In some cases, I would have been better off to exercise patience, save a little more and bought used items instead of new.
Do your kids a favor. Teach them to equate earning a dollar with services rendered. Press upon them the value of work. It is one of the most important things in life that they will ever learn and it will pay off for them one day.