Friday, June 5, 2009

A Little Caulk by Marvin Wilson

After my first career as a young Hippie rock and roll musician ended without fame and fortune and no cover of The Rolling Stone, I became a carpenter. I went on to build a construction company and ran that for fifteen years. In the construction business you often hear the phrase, when considering whether or not the quality of the work is good enough, looking at bad joints or gaps in the work where materials should fit together better, "It's fine, good enough - nothing a little caulk and a little paint won't fix."

A little caulk, a little paint ... it's a common phrase, I'm sure many of you have heard that said. Real estate agents will say it to you when walking you through a house they're trying to get you to buy - you know, the perfect little "fixer-upper," all it needs is a little TLC.

A little caulk, a little paint, and it'll be just like new.

Well no, it won't.

Shoddy construction, poor foundations, bad framing, and careless workmanship mean the house is fundamentally unsound. It will not age well, it will fall apart continually, and forever it will be needing "a little caulk, and a little paint" to keep up the appearance of a well built home. And this principle applies not just to the construction industry.

This "patch it up, cover up the flaws, sell it and move on" mentality pervades our modern day society. You see it in government. Patch up the sagging, sputtering and failing economy with a quick stimulus package and let's keep moving forward. You see it in our roads, utilities and communications infrastructures. Instead of rebuilding from scratch with the quality construction needed, we patch and repair and keep moving. No time to slow down and do it right. Plus the expense - too high.

A little caulk, a little paint ... good to go. For a little while longer. Then we'll just patch it up again when we have to.

This principle also applies to relationships. Which (finally, you're probably thinking) brings me to my Mother's Day message.

How is your relationship with your mother? Have you kept it up in appearances with a little caulk and a little paint over the years? Or is there some basic rebuilding necessary to make the relationship solid and real, honest, open, and meaningful? I know many adults who spend their entire lives harboring resentment over this or that from their childhood with regard to their parents and how they felt they were mistreated and/or did not receive the best parenting. And the reverse is true as well. Parents that never have forgiven a child's having been or done this or that, harsh words spoken in anger and resentment, and maybe they never lived up to expectations and didn't turn out to be what the parent wanted them to be.

So the admonition from the Old Silly this day is, if you've been repeatedly caulking and painting over those gaps, those poor fits, those perfunctory efforts at a viable, loving and meaningful relationship with your mother, or your father, your siblings, your spouse, your kids, your friends, whatever ...

Stop with the patch jobs. Put out the energy, pay the high emotional costs, eat the bitter humble pie if that's what it calls for, get down to the root of the relationship and rebuild it right this time. Because in the end, it's all about family and friends, and good connections with loved ones. When it's your time to leave this plane of existence, you will regret having caulked and painted your way through life rather than building a lasting legacy of binding and eternal true love.

7 comments:

Morgan Mandel said...

You're so right. Opportunities missed will never come back.

Morgan Mandel
http://www.morganmandel.com
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Donna M. McDine said...

Wow! Elegantly said. And all so true! Thank you for sharing.

Regards,
Donna M. McDine
Children’s Author
Write What Inspires You Blog
Donna M. McDine’s Website

orcalover said...

I used to be an engineer, I believe in "Doing it right the first time". This is the same as "Measure twice, cut once"

Ron

Jan Verhoeff said...

So true!!! I used to get tired of the whining carpenter mentality when I managed a construction company. Their excuses for costing the company money were unbelievable. At one point, siding was more than three inches from the window in a gap he'd miss-cut, and he implied I could fix it with some caulking. I went ballistic and fired the whole crew! My next crew figured out really quickly that I didn't tolerate shoddy work. A little caulk is the stupid way out. Fix it right and you don't waste time and money on caulking.

Thanks for the vent-inspiration.

http://chargermom.blogspot.com

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I love this. Seize the moment, they say, because you may not get a second one.

Thanks for a great post.

Beverly

http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

lionmother said...

Katie,
Beautiful and meaningful post that gives everyone a chance to think about relationships. You are so right about that statement. It is what the government is doing and what many people do instead of doing the work as you said!

Thank you for reminding us what all of these days are about. I don't have either a father or a mother, but I feel that with both of them we were able to keep the foundations of our relationship strong. So now I can feel good about remembering them.

N A Sharpe said...

Excellent post - forget "the patch job patch jobs. Put out the energy, pay the high emotional costs, eat the bitter humble pie if that's what it calls for, get down to the root of the relationship and rebuild it right this time. Because in the end, it's all about family and friends, and good connections with loved ones. When it's your time to leave this plane of existence, you will regret having caulked and painted your way through life rather than building a lasting legacy of binding and eternal true love." Very eloquently stated, Marvin. You need to set priorities and do it right the first time.

Nancy, from Just a Thought…