When I was a kid, one of my chores was to mow the lawns. I mowed my immediate family’s lawn, my grandma’s (who lived next door), and my grandpa’s (who lived down the street from us). In total, it was probably about four acres of grass that I would cut on a weekly basis. By the time that I would get to the end of the last lawn—usually my grandpa’s—I would be exhausted. There was always the temptation to put the mower in a high gear and just do it as quickly as possible.
One day, shortly after some rain had fallen, I decided to do just that. It was a miserable type of day, and I would not have been outside if I didn’t have to do the mowing. I sped through my grandpa’s lawn in record time. On a normal day, it would take about two hours to do his lawn. On this magnificently miserable day, I did it in almost half that time.
Well, at first.
Once my grandpa saw how bad of a job I did, he made me do the whole thing over again. There were chunks of grass that had been missed because of the mower clogging on the wet grass and pieces I had missed altogether. It looked awful.
Two hours after that, I was done for real. And really unhappy.
But I learned something that day that I have never forgotten. When I finished my grandpa sat me down and said, “No one will remember how fast you did something. They will only remember how good of a job you did.”
As a 12 year old, this meant nothing to me. As a 36 year old, it’s one of the most important things I have ever been taught. No one cares how fast I can make a pen, create a lesson plan for an English lesson, or fix the sump pump in my basement. They remember the quality of the job that was done.
This extends way beyond crafting or making of any sort. It’s a principle that applies to everything we do. No one cares how quickly you do your job, just that you do it well. We all have different gifts and abilities and we are called to use those as best as we can. We’re not perfect and we’ll make mistakes. Sometimes, no one even will notice that you do something unless you mess it up. That can be frustrating. But there are not many things that are better than taking pride in what we do and ensuring that we do the very best that we can, every time we do it.