Charlene Notgrass

Ray and I were recently doing the same thing that we have done so many mornings since we moved into this wonderful, drafty old house. We were standing on the porch talking to our latest contractor. The issue this time was our sinking kitchen. Note that I didn’t say our kitchen sink, but our sinking kitchen. You can’t blame the kitchen for sinking. You’d sink too if the beam between your floor and the foundation underneath you was rotten. We think this part of the house was built in the 1880s, so I guess it had a right to rot.

The foundation and the beam are all fixed now. With a price 80 percent less than the first estimate, Ray and I are happy. The trouble is that the foundation and beam have been finished since July, but we are still waiting for the siding person to put the siding back on. We are also waiting for the mason to put the original foundation stones back on so they can cover up the new heavy duty reinforced concrete that is actually holding up the kitchen these days.

Our highly successful contractor, who has been doing this kind of work for 30 years, keeps telling us that he can hardly get anyone to work and that that is why it is taking so long to get the finishing touches completed on this project. He was telling us this again yesterday morning. That’s when he began to speak eloquently about something I think many of you will want to hear.


He said that young people who are not bent in a scholastic direction should learn trades but that they should not only learn trades. They should also learn organization, time management, and money management. He said that someone who does a good job laying tile, for example, can make an excellent living right now in Tennessee.

Our contractor emphasized the need not only to develop manual skills but also to learn the management skills needed to carry out this kind of career. He said that if a person does that, he doesn’t have to keep doing it when he is 60. He can stop and enjoy the fruits of his labor.

What wonderful advice this is. I have often thought about little boys in second grade classrooms who learn differently and do not have a scholastic bent. I grieve about the little boy who could one day become the best auto mechanic his town has ever had, but he never will:

• because he has to spend the rest of this year and then ten more after that in a place where his God-given bent will never be realized

• because he has to spend the rest of this year and ten more after that being made to feel like an idiot   

• because he doesn’t learn the same way that most of the other children learn

• because he has interests different from those most emphasized at school.

I have often encouraged homeschooling mamas to recognize these little boys (and girls) and to teach them to excel in the gifts God has given to them. However, I now see that I left out something important. Now I know that those children need something else. They need mamas and daddies who will also give them the opportunities to learn those business skills they need to excel in those talents.

Do you see a man skilled in his work?

He will stand before kings;

He will not stand before obscure men.

Proverbs 22:29 NASB

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