6 Life Lessons From Your Lawn Guy
Most of you don’t know my story but a lot of what I know has come from a landscaper- my dad. My dad came to this country alone at the age of 13 with no formal education. He would always tell us stories of his first job as a boy in his home country: shining shoes. Fast forward a few years to his first job in the United States: working at a nursery here in Corpus Christi, TX. He worked hard to provide for his family back home in Mexico until he married my mother - and not soon after my sister and I came along. And that is when the lessons began!
Lesson 1: Family first.
For the last 40 years, my father has worked in the blistering 100 degree Texas weather in the middle of the summer to provide for us. After working summers as a teenager alongside my father to do my part, I came to the conclusion that that type of work is only made for machines. And I vowed never to work like that in my life. My dad is now suffering from illnesses from his line of work, but he doesn’t let it stop him. He keeps providing day after day.
Lesson 2 : Never be too big for a job.
In my current profession, It’s humbling to see people in leadership positions getting down and dirty to accomplish minuscule jobs. I remember years ago my dad was hired for a job around Halloween time. I figured it was doing landscaping for a front lawn or cutting down tree branches. I later find out he was hired to dress up to scare kids/adults in a haunted house. I was a little embarrassed at the moment for him, thinking why he would do that? Years later I am starting to understand why.
Lesson 3: Never be romantic about how you provide for your family.
“Providing for your family is always the main goal no matter how big, small or odd job you have to do.”
Lesson 4: Speak softly and carry a big stick.
Okay, maybe Theodore Roosevelt coined this phrase back in the day but my dad made it stick for me! My dad is a man of very few words but when he speaks, you feel and understand his words. This is now how I approach my own life. I observe more than I speak but when I speak - I speak confidently and proudly.
Lesson 5: Leave it better than you found it.
Those summers working in the blistering sun were some of the worst days of my life. I wanted to be fishing, playing pickup basketball at the YMCA, or going out on dates. I remember one time I found a “clever” way to blow the cut grass back on the lawn so I wouldn’t have to bag it up. Rookie mistake on my end, my father spotted it like a hawk and made me blow it correctly and pick up every inch of the cut grass on the sidewalk. And I will say, his hard work that day definitely paid off - to this day he still does this family’s yard.
Lesson 6: Be proud of where you come from.
I was born in a tiny town called Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico. It is known for its oranges and a big statue on a mountain of its founder called “el mono”. If I am lucky sometimes I can find oranges at our local HEB from my little hometown. The rumor is, we lived there for around 6 months before establishing ourselves in Corpus Christi, TX. I was automatically a U.S. citizen, though I had to file for citizenship and walk the stage when I turned ten. The majority of my family still lives in Mexico, so my appreciation for the opportunities I have reminds me to embrace them with humility and pure joy. Things could have been lot different for my family.
Today, I am a minority male educator with a masters degree and small business owner. I am proud to be the son of a landscaper who has given me lessons that I have never forgotten and will continue passing on to future generations.