Dads, Use Your Tools

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Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

My Dad was a Sub-Contractor and laid carpet by trade. I filled my weekends and summers working with my Dad laying carpet. While being his helper, we would go to buildings, houses, and apartments to pull up the old carpet and install the new one.

Carpentry was tough work, and it was this very job that drove me into working with computers for a living. I saw how hard my Dad worked and the toll it took on his body over the years. But while I worked with him, I learned some valuable lessons that I still put in practice today. 

The outline of a typical day laying carpet:

Start of the day: Dad always wanted to get the materials and get to the job site by 7:30 or 8:00 am at the latest. So that meant we were up and in the truck no matter the weather at 6:30 and for a student who spent all school year with this schedule, it wasn’t fun to keep that up during the summer or on a Saturday.

Lesson Learned: Set a schedule and stay on schedule. I’ve owned my own business for over 13 years, and I’m always in the studio at 8 am without fail. No one has to tell me to get up or get to work because it instilled into me at a very young age and I found value in that.

Morning Shift: Dad had been laying carpet for quite a while and was very good and quick at his job. I pretty much just held, moved, carried and filled in where needed. But watching Dad, he always had a plan and process to the project. He looked over the place and then set his plan in action. 

Lesson Learned: My Dad had a plan and stuck to it and by doing so completed the project like a seasoned vet. That allowed me to learn to review a project, set a strategy and stick to it. I may have to refine it, but we set a plan instead of approaching it with a Ready Fire Aim approach.

Lunch: Dad always picked up a sandwich from a convenience store or a local shop. So, I got the chance to eat at some cool places in New Orleans. But I learned to look around and experience the area. Don’t cross town and step over something that may be a great benefit to you and it be right under your nose.

Afternoon Shift: Because Dad was so focused on his job in the morning, we finished most of our projects by lunch. Then if he wanted to make more money, we went back and got another job for the afternoon. Many times, he just took off at midday.

Lesson Learned: If I stay focused, I can accomplish a lot of work in one day. While I don’t stop at noon, I’ve always taken off Friday at noon as long as I’ve owned my company.

The last thing I’ll leave you with was my Dad’s Toolbox. It wasn’t much to look at as it had seen years of use, but it did its job. The tools inside were covered with carpet stains, wax, loose nails, dull knife blades, scratches and much more. Any one device didn’t do too much, but all used together, allowed my Dad to be a Rockstar when it came to laying carpet. 

Takeaway: Have the right tools, use them correctly, and you will succeed.

Stay Uncommen!




  1. Wanda Pohl

    Sounds like your Dad left a legacy of a very good work ethic for you.

  2. Gary Armour

    I so much enjoy reading your blogs and sense your ministry to men is a unique one. I have been inspired to start a blog for Christian men myself, but am having a hard time wrapping my head around it. I want to appeal to men who have burned themselves out “playing church” but are still looking for Jesus’ promised “abundant life”.

    The enemy keeps telling me that I’m too old to start this project and nobody will read it anyway. I’d really enjoy being in touch with other Christian men who are blogging for Christ for encouragement and accountability.

    • Johbie

      Amen! Be encouraged brother! It is never too late to walk in your anointing!

  3. Roger

    I believe hard work from within makes all the things that God built us to be and endure in the love that Christ did for us. Just like working on the garden at home.

  4. Tim S

    My father was a carpenter(or wood butcher) as we did work together alot growing up, I didn’t learn to appreciate or even recognize the values he instilled until later in life. Thankyou Dad and my Father in heaven for these experiences!

  5. Ejikeme Justus Obasi

    As a young dad, my dreams and plans have always been to create lasting legacies (positive impacts) for my family. This article, in no small measure, has added to my “retinue” of ideas. Thanks a lot.

  6. Johbie

    What a great read! I love that you got to learn from and grow with your dad. My dad and I never got to spend such quality time together because he battled mental illnessfor most of his life.

    I don’t even think we have one picture of us together. However, I loved my dad dearly and valued the little time I had with “him.”

    I have committed to spending as much quality time as I can with my girls who are 3 and 7 years old. I realize that our time together shapes and impacts them and I want to make sure that I leave a rich legacy for them like your dad did.


    • Tj Todd

      Johbie, thank you for the feedback. While I learned this lesson from my dad as a young child, I too didn’t have a close relationship with him as an adult all the time. There is a season for everything and I’m thankful you and I learned what we could from them. But we are called to learn from and mimic our Heavenly Father who can teach us every lesson!

  7. Woodbrodge VA

    So timely I just read this to my 2 sons and I told them. What you wrote almost sound like my life. My Dad an a Certified Auto Technician ohhhhhhhhhhh I knew I did not want that as my career path. I am an OFFICE MANAGER but like you his ways and his approach to work I use in the office setting.

    I explained to my boys you and I share the same experiance that LIFE is what YOU make it and you have to learn from the generation before and that will mold you into the person you will become.

    Thanks so very much.

  8. Damian Caceres

    Great stuff and encouraging!! Thank you

  9. Paul Lebsack

    Thanks for this. It reminds me a lot of how my dad lives his life. Growing up on a family farm everyone needed to work for it to be successful. Two mottos that my dad instilled in me:
    1. Autograph your work with excellence.
    2. If you can’t do it right the first time you must have time to do it again.
    I continue to this day to apply this two mottos to my life both at work and at home. My dad is a great man and I am so thankful for the many things he taught me!

  10. Carlos

    My dad was a Farm Mechanic/Ranch Hand/(you got it) he did it all when it came to working on the farm. Hard work came naturally. Eventhough he did not allow me to work on the farm too much, he made sure that I went to school. There were times when he was gone to work long before getting up for school and wouldn’t come home till long after bedtime. The few times that I did get to work with him I was in awe by the respect he was shown by the owners, other farmers, and all employees. First thing in the morning he would have me shake everyone’s hand, look them in the eye, and respectfully say “Good Morning”. He said that this is a small token of respect and acknowledgment thanking everyone individually for being there.
    Now as an Electronics Manufacturing Engineer, I do the same thing with my team of Supervisors, Managers, Technicians, and especially Operators. I have had performance reviews stating that this small action resonates respect and makes people want to work me. This a little action that leaves a BIG reaction. Thanks Dad.
    And thank you for letting me love on my dad for a bit, God bless!!


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