A good work ethic is unquestionably one of the many important virtues that have been instilled in me by my parents. A gift I received as a boy was William J. Bennett’s “The Book of Virtues.” It has a large portion devoted to the benefits of developing healthy work habits, and I have enjoyed reading these passages again and again. I placed a similar importance on the repeated reference in one of my middle school history textbooks regarding having a good “work ethic” which, to me, seemed to be responsible for a lot of tremendously important accomplishments and institutions throughout history. I believe that as I have gotten older and have really started to understand what my parents have taught me, I have incorporated the value of good, regular work into my moral DNA and it has colored a lot of how I see life around me now. I also believe my autism has helped me to remain dedicated to this work philosophy because I can easily remain focused on an idea that either interests me or is important to me. As I have watched my parents work on different projects in the last few weeks, I have again reflected on how much a good work ethic is important to my future and success.
I traveled to Pennsylvania with my father to help him at his job as a sales representative last week. I have helped him in this capacity numerous times, and during the week my father and I visited some of his customers. My father’s main responsibility was helping the store set up their systems. I primarily worked on the minute details such as applying labels and putting the vast quantity of products supplied to each store into their proper places. The tasks I performed were a bit monotonous in nature and could have potentially become very boring if approached with the wrong mindset. I remained dedicated to my objectives regardless, and even if things did feel a bit slow at times, there were also some nice perks. For instance, I enjoyed the short walks from one store to a nearby warehouse to pick up supplies for the next step in the job, and I had an engaging conversation about childhood memories with some warehouse workers at another stop. Those little moments made the long hours of work fly by and were simply wonderful to me. Also, seeing my father work so hard at the tasks at hand and finishing the job no matter how long it took reminded me that I must also put the same time and effort into my own work to become successful at what I choose to do.
My mother is also working on a unique project as I write this column. For the past several weeks, she has been preparing a presentation on AIT (Auditory Integration Training) and Therapeutic Listening for an upcoming meeting of our local special education PTA (SEPTSA). She has been doing extensive research online and over the telephone speaking to various program providers, gathering a vast amount of information on the programs, and organizing it all into a cohesive presentation. Seeing her work so hard and put so much time and effort into this presentation has been very inspirational to me.
I, myself, have been hard at work in the last few months doing writing projects in the hopes of having them published. Two essays I wrote were not chosen for publication, but I did receive an honorable mention for one of them. This will not stop me from continuing my writing career.
The level of dedication my parents have for their endeavors is the same type of passion I want to give to everything I do. Anything less than my all would not lead to the type of results I expect from any work I engage in. To me, work is more than a virtue; it is the way to lead a more productive and fulfilling life.