Things have gone crazy here with the storms and various mechanical problems. So, when the trip lever broke on my toilet, I cussed up a storm. I was already on overload. Then I realized how fortunate I am.

For starters, I worked in plumbing for around 6 years. We plumbed schools, houses, and other commercial buildings. Fixing a toilet was really no big deal. While I didn't have the time or the money to buy the parts, I do have a second bathroom that is currently not in use, but does have a toilet with some salvageable parts. I also have a son who needs to learn how to do what I call "man's work".

When I first told Hunter he had to fix the toilet, he was all "eeww...toilet water?" until I showed him how the toilet actually worked. He took the broken trip lever off of one toilet, the working trip lever off the other toilet, and put the working lever on the toilet we use.

When he was done, he said it felt great to be able to take something apart and fix it. He's right, and he's right to be proud of himself for fixing it. It was a simple thing I know, but he is 11 after all.

Hunter taking parts out of the toilet we don't use
Of course I'm glad to have the toilet working properly again, but there was something more that's been on my mind. I had a brief spell the other day when I wished for a moment that I could have made his life growing up a little bit easier. Then I thought about all that he has learned from our struggle. While many kids are worried about their Facebook pic and wearing the latest fashions, Hunter is learning to appreciate things that matter.

He has chores to do every day. I think it's important to let kids learn through chores, even if it does try my patience sometimes. I suppose they offer valuable lessons for us both. And when times have been really hard, I didn't send Hunter away so he could have it easier. I kept him with me so he could learn about reality.

This one goes out to all the parents who still teach their children the value of hard work. I don't plan to foot the entire bill when my son wants a car and I don't plan to pay his way through college. In fact the biggest thing I plan to hand over to him is a piece of land to get started with. He'll have to work it and make it the way he wants it, but hard work will be a habit by then, not a novelty.


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