Yesterday, my oldest daughter was with me in the workshop for just a few minutes after lunch. I was getting ready to head back to work, but I wanted to take a few minutes to tidy up before leaving. She asked if she could help. Anyone who has ever received “help” from a five year old knows that you have to hold a sort of loose interpretation of the word. It usually ends up taking twice as long to do the job and you mostly have to re-do the job anyway.
But she already had the brush and dustpan in her hand, and so I said, “sure, what the heck. Here’s a trashcan.”
I have to be honest, she surprised me. She worked hard and did a decent job. As she was finishing up I told her that in past times, when people wanted to learn how to work with wood as cabinet makers and joiners, sweeping was usually their first job. I told her that if they could clean up the shop well, it showed that they were responsible and then they could start learning how to do other things. I said it off-hand really, just passing the time as we swept. And then she said this:
“Papa, I love working out here with you. Thank you for telling me an old story.”
I really don’t have to write the rest of this post do I? You know how it goes. My heart swelled up. I gave her a hug and said, “I love working with you too. You’re welcome.”
I thought about that all day. How a simple “old” story can be told well, and what that might mean to those who hear it.